ULM (9-15) at Arkansas State (17-11)
GAME NOTES: The ULM Warhawks will try to earn a berth in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament when they take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves at the Convocation Center on Thursday.
Although the Warhawks' 61-46 loss to Troy on Saturday marked their third setback in four games, they will clinch a spot in the conference tournament with either a win, a Troy loss or a Texas State loss. Coach Keith Richard's team has struggled on the offensive end as it ranks second to last in the SBC in scoring offense (64.5 ppg) and connects on only 42.8 percent of its field goal attempts. Defensively, the team surrenders only 68.9 ppg. ULM is 4-0 when scoring at least 80 points and 8-0 when at least four different Warhawks score in double-figures.
ASU suffered its second consecutive setback on Tuesday as it was defeated, 79-76, by the conference leading Georgia State Panthers in overtime. The Red Wolves have compiled a 46-10 record at home dating back to the 2010-11 campaign, including this season's 10-3 ledger at the Convocation Center. Coach John Brady's squad has already set new program single-season records with 241 makes from behind the 3-point line and 647 total attempts from beyond the arc. The frequent perimeter shooting has helped ASU to an average of 76.1 ppg, but it is in the bottom half of the SBC in points allowed per game at 70.6.
ULM has not won in Jonesboro since March 5, 1985. Although the Warhawks dispatched ASU, 72-65, when these schools met at Fant-Ewing Coliseum on Jan. 30, the Red Wolves still own a 32-22 all-time series lead.
Junior forward Tylor Ongwae paces ULM and ranks fourth in SBC action in scoring with 18.1 ppg. Ongwae has scored in double figures in 15 of the Warhawks' 16 conference games and 21-of-24 games on the season. The only other active player on ULM's roster with a double-digit scoring average is Jayon James (10 ppg), who also contributes team-highs of 6.2 rpg and 4.5 apg. Ongwae will try to bounce back after being held to seven points on 2-of-14 efficiency from the field in the team's poor showing versus Troy. Freshman guard Nick Coppola led ULM against the Trojans as he knocked down two attempts from beyond the arc en route to 10 points, but the rest of the team combined to go just 3-of-13 from 3-point range. ULM also finished with 16 turnovers and five more personal fouls than Troy in its last outing.
In ASU's loss to the Panthers earlier this week, senior guard Melvin Johnson III came off the bench to score a team-high 19 points, including a game-tying 3-pointer in the closing moments of the second half that forced an extra session. Senior forward Kirk Van Slyke netted 18 points, while Brandon Reed and Cameron Golden had 13 points apiece. Van Slyke, who leads the team with 15.6 ppg, has been on a roll over his last five games, on 50 percent shooting from the floor and 55 percent accuracy from 3-point range during that span. Johnson has knocked down a team-high 74 shots from beyond the arc for 14.7 ppg and Kendrick Washington adds 10 ppg.
ULM will have trouble completing the season sweep and securing a playoff berth since the Red Wolves have been so dominant at home. ASU has not lost three games in a row since the 2011-12 season.
GAME NOTES: The ULM Warhawks will try to earn a berth in the Sun Belt
Conference Tournament when they take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves at the
Convocation Center on Thursday.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,563) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Television: None. Home Record: ULM 6-6, ASU 10-3. Away Record: ULM 3-9, ASU
7-8. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: ULM 6-10, ASU 9-7.
Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 32-22.Game Date and Time
Thursday, March 6, 8:05 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Arkansas State 71, ULM 59