Arkansas State (16-9) at ULM (4-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Fant-Ewing Coliseum (7,085) -- Monroe, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: ASU 12-2, ULM 3-6. Away Record: ASU 4-7, ULM 1-11. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, ULM 0-0. Conference Record: ASU 10-6, ULM 3-12. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 31-21.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas State Red Wolves will try to notch their third straight win on Saturday afternoon, as they invade Fant-Ewing Coliseum for a Sun Belt Conference clash with the ULM Warhawks.
Arkansas State most recently hosted Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday night and came away with an 86-62 triumph to improve to 16-9 overall and take sole possession of first place in the SBC West Division at 10-6. The Red Wolves have won five of their last six games, but they haven't had much success away from home this season (4-7).
ULM (4-17) has been bringing up the rear in the Sun Belt all season long, winning only three of its 15 league matchups, but one of its triumphs came on Thursday night in a 85-73 decision at home over North Texas. The win allowed the Warhawks to snap a season-high, nine-game losing streak.
ASU easily dismissed ULM in the first meeting this season, winning 63-39 in Jonesboro on Jan. 19. It was the Red Wolves' sixth straight victory in the series, which they lead by a 31-21 margin.
The Red Wolves had no problem rolling over UALR on their home floor earlier this week, as they put forth outstanding efforts from both the field (26- of-51) and the foul line (26-of-32) on their way to convincing 24-point victory. Brandon Peterson was nearly flawless, shooting 5-of-6 from the floor and 10-of-11 from the stripe for 20 points, while also adding 13 rebounds and three steals to his stat line. Ed Townsel provided a spark off the bench with 15 points, while Cameron Golden and Kendrick Washington netted 11 points apiece. Despite shooting only 40.8 percent from the field this season, ASU boasts one of the Sun Belt's top scoring offenses with 69.5 ppg. Its defensive pressure has been stellar as well, holding teams under 63 ppg. Townsel shoots less than 39 percent from the floor, but he has drained a team-high 57 3- pointers en route to 14.0 ppg. Peterson is a nightly double-double threat with 10.7 ppg and 9.7 rpg, while also causing havoc at the defensive end with more than a block and a steal per game. Trey Finn rounds out the unit's double- digit scorers with 10.0 ppg.
Despite trailing by nine points at the half on Thursday night, the Warhawks were able to blow past North Texas by shooting a red-hot 19-of-30 from the field (.633) over the final 20 minutes. Amos Olatayo shot 8-of-19 from the field for 22 points, although his night could have been much better had he put together a better showing from the foul line (4-of-12). Millaun Brown was nearly perfect in hitting 9-of-10 field goal attempts for 21 points, to go with eight rebounds, Trent Mackey netted 18 points on the strength of five treys, and R.J. McCray rounded out the balanced effort with 10 points and six assists. Even with the recent scoring outburst, ULM still boasts the most futile offense in the league at a scant 61.1 ppg, and paired with a 71.3 scoring defense it currently owns the league's worst scoring margin (-10.2). Olatayo is a consistent force in the frontcourt, shooting nearly 47 percent from the field for 15.8 ppg to go along with 5.7 rpg. Mackey is active from beyond the arc (57-of-130) in netting 11.1 ppg, and while James stuffs the stat sheet (10.0 ppg, 6.4 ppg, 5.1 apg), he is plagued by nearly five turnovers per contest.
ULM finally put it all together on Thursday night for its first win in more than a month, and it certainly has the individual talent to be a much better squad than its record would indicate. Still, even with ASU's lackluster road record, it has been far too good of late to stumble against the last-place Warhawks.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 74, ULM 66
02/16 10:34:18 ET