ULM (5-7) at South Alabama (7-11)
GAME NOTES: Fresh off a road upset of Troy, the ULM Warhawks take aim at back- to-back wins for the first time in over a month as they tangle with the South Alabama Jaguars in a Sun Belt Conference tilt at the Mitchell Center.
The Warhawks, who had just one win in six tries on the road prior to Thursday's matchup with Troy, captured a 75-64 win in the contest, improving to 5-7 overall and 2-2 in league play in the process. They will start a three- game homestand next against Western Kentucky.
South Alabama was desperate for a win on Thursday and finally got one, topping Louisiana in an 81-73 final. The victory ended a six-game losing streak for the Jaguars, who are 7-11 overall, but just 1-4 against Sun Belt competition. They venture out to take on Texas-Arlington next.
Last year, South Alabama swept the season series with ULM, earning its third straight win against the Warhawks. The Jaguars have won 11 of 15 total meetings.
Paced by a game-high 22 points from Tylor Ongwae, ULM was able to push its way past Troy. The Warhawks shot 52 percent from the floor, including a 9-of-14 showing from beyond the arc, while holding the Trojans to 46.8 percent field goal efficiency.
It was a positive sign for Keith Richard to see his team have such success on offense against Troy. The Warhawks have not been all that efficient on average this season, netting just 68.2 ppg and connecting on 42.9 percent of their shots from the field. Ongwae (15.5 ppg) has made a habit of topping the team in scoring, shooting 45.9 percent from the floor and ranking third on the squad in rebounds as well. Amos Olatayo (13.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Jayon James (10.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg) are also scoring threats who are leaned on, but outside of that trio, only Marvin Williams (8.6 ppg) is putting in more than five ppg.
Augustine Rubit scored 21 points, collected nine rebounds and blocked five shots to help lead South Alabama past Louisiana. The Jaguars shot 59.2 percent from the floor, while limiting the Ragin' Cajuns to 38.7 percent.
The Jaguars have normally struggled on offense, as they rank 10th in the Sun Belt in field goal percentage (.400), while netting just over 70 ppg. However, South Alabama has been the conference's best team on the boards. Rubit (16.6 ppg, 9.8 rpg) anchors the team down low, posting team-highs in scoring and rebounding. Rubit is second in the conference in rebounds as well, missing out on averaging a double-double by a slim margin. The rest of the roster does not feature many other offensive threats, with Antoine Allen (10.1 ppg) the only other double-digit scorer, although Mychal Ammons (9.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg) has had his share of solid efforts.
All seven of South Alabama's win have come at home this season. Although ULM earned a road victory last time out, it won't be able to repeat the result on Saturday against Rubit and the Jaguars.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off a road upset of Troy, the ULM Warhawks take aim at back-
to-back wins for the first time in over a month as they tangle with the South
Alabama Jaguars in a Sun Belt Conference tilt at the Mitchell Center.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mitchell Center (10,041) -- Mobile, Alabama.
Television: Sun Belt Network, CSS. Home Record: ULM 3-2, USA 7-3. Away Record:
ULM 2-5, USA 0-6. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, USA 0-2. Conference Record: ULM
2-2, USA 1-4. Series Record: South Alabama leads, 11-4.Game Date and Time
Saturday, January 18, 8:30 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
South Alabama 72, ULM 66