Texas State (4-11) at ULM (4-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Fant-Ewing Coliseum (7,085) -- Monroe, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: Texas State 2-5, ULM 3-1. Away Record: Texas State 0-5, ULM 1-5. Neutral Record: Texas State 2-1, ULM 0-0. Conference Record: Texas State 0-2, ULM 1-1. Series Record: ULM leads, 25-16.
GAME NOTES: A pair of struggling Sun Belt Conference squads meet up at Fant- Ewing Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, as the ULM Warhawks play host to the Texas State Bobcats.
Texas State has not fared well this season, winning just four of its 15 games overall while having yet to win on the road in five tries. The Bobcats are currently riding a three-game losing streak, which includes an 0-2 start in the Sun Belt with home losses to Arkansas-Little Rock (63-59) and Arkansas State (74-69).
Both of ULM's league contests needed overtime to be decided, and after downing Louisiana at home in two extra sessions last Saturday (103-98), it fell on the wrong end of an 83-79 overtime matchup at Texas-Arlington on Thursday night. The Warhawks are now 4-6 overall this season, including 3-1 in Monroe.
ULM leads the all-time series with Texas State, 25-16. These newly-acquainted conference rivals haven't met since 2006, when the Warhawks won at home, 80-75.
The Bobcats trailed ASU by double digits midway through the second half, and while they managed to climb all the way back to tie the game with 3:33 left on a Reid Koenen bucket, they could never overtake the lead as they suffered the five-point setback. The squad shot 42.4 percent from the field and were paced by the efforts of Joel Wright, who scored 22 points in 27 minutes off the bench. Koenen was also stellar in a reserve role with 16 points, while Emani Gant chipped in with 11 points.
Texas State has had difficulty putting points on the board all season long, as it shoots a modest 43.3 percent from the field (including .323 from 3-point range) and just 63.2 percent from the free-throw line for 64.2 ppg, which is 4.2 ppg fewer than they allow. Wright is the unquestioned catalyst, leading the team in both scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg). Gant is the only player to average in double figures with 10.5 ppg.
The Warhawks dodged a bullet late in regulation, when after fouling Jamel Outler with one second left, he drained just 1-of-2 at the line to force overtime, but they fell victim to a 6-0 UTA run late in the extra session as they dropped the four-point decision. It was solid field-goal shooting night for the Warhawks (.516), but they were only 3-of-9 from the free-throw line. Tylor Ongwae shined with 25 points and Amos Olatayo was right on his heels with 20 points, with the duo combining to shoot 8-of-17 from beyond the arc. Jayon James flirted with a triple-double, posting 14 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
On the season, ULM shoots slightly better from the field (.436) than its opponents (.435), but it still has a -3.7 scoring margin thanks to its poor showings in the turnover battle (-3.4) and at the foul line (.634). Ongwae (15.2 ppg) and Olatayo (14.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg) have been neck-and-neck for the scoring lead all season long, while James stuffs the stat sheet on a regular basis with 10.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.3 apg and 1.3 spg.
With neither team performing well this season, ULM's homecourt advantage will likely be the deciding factor against a Bobcats' squad that still hasn't won on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: ULM 75, Texas State 70
01/11 12:23:14 ET