ULM (3-1) at LSU (5-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 14, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215) -- Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Television: CST. Home Record: ULM 2-0, LSU 3-0. Away Record: ULM 1-1, LSU 0-1. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, LSU 2-1. Conference Record: ULM 0-0, LSU 0-0. Series Record: LSU leads, 5-0.
GAME NOTES: The LSU Tigers will play five of their next six games at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, starting with a matchup against the ULM Warhawks on Saturday night.
ULM has been surprisingly quiet in the early going, playing just four games in five weeks since the season tipped off. The Warhawks have played well in limited action, however, with its 84-61 victory over Thomas University this past Monday night pulling them to 3-1. Their only loss came on the road against nationally-ranked Kansas in the opener, 80-63.
LSU has had a two-week layoff since rounding out the Old Spice Classic on Dec. 1 with a 70-68 win over Butler in the third-place game. The Tigers, who are 5-2 on the season, have won all three of their contests in Baton Rouge.
These Pelican State rivals have faced each other five times previously, with LSU claiming victory in each bout.
The Warhawks did what was expected of them in their latest outing, dismissing Thomas University by 23 points thanks largely to strong efforts from the field (28-of-47) and free-throw line (23-of-31). Those lofty numbers masked an unsightly 20 turnovers. Tylor Ongwae was the catalyst in the victory with 22 points while also adding seven rebounds, four assists and four steals to his stat line. Marvin Williams chipped in 12 points, DeMondre Harvey netted 11 off the bench, and Jayon James scored 10. Although its sample size is considerably smaller than most at this stage of the season, ULM has nonetheless been impressive with a .516 field goal percentage and a +11.0 scoring margin, although its rate of turnovers (18 per game) is certainly something that will catch up to it at some point. Amos Olatayo leads the way with 17.5 ppg, doing so by draining two-thirds of his field goal attempts. Ongwae (12.8 ppg), Williams (12.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and James (11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) can all be called upon for consistent contributions as well.
In a game that consisted of 11 ties and 11 lead changes with neither team ever leading by more than eight points, LSU managed to outlast Butler in overtime to earn third place in the Old Spice Classic thanks largely to its strong defensive effort, which held the Bulldogs to less than 34 percent efficiency from the field. The team shot a respectable 45.3 percent itself and was led by Johnny O'Bryant III's 17 points and eight rebounds. Jarell Martin, Jordan Mickey, Shavon Coleman and Malik Morgan all contributed to the winning effort with 12 points apiece. The Tigers have been a well-rounded squad all season long, as they boast double-digit scoring (+10.6) and rebounding (+10.0) margins, while outshooting foes from the field, 46.7 percent to 40 percent. O'Bryant III is a nightly double-double threat with averages of 16.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, while Mickey (13.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.7 bpg) joins him in the frontcourt. Andre Stringer (13.6 ppg) and Anthony Hickey (10.6 ppg) combine to hand out seven assists per outing.
The Tigers will likely need to get their legs back under them during the first half after having not seen game action in two weeks, but once they dust the cobwebs off, their talented roster should be able to conquer the Warhawks to remain perfect at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: LSU 82, ULM 70
12/14 10:41:27 ET