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December 13, 2012

From the Hardwood - Southern

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Coming off its first victory of the season on Monday, ULM hosts Southern University on Thursday at 7 p.m. inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum. The Warhawks defeated Southeastern Louisiana 68-61 in overtime on Monday to improve to 1-4 on the season. Thursday's game can be heard locally on KLIP 105.3 FM in Monroe, with Nick White calling the action.



ULM outscored Southeastern 11-2 in overtime to earn its first victory of the season and snap a 20-game home losing streak, which dated back to Jan. 4, 2011. ULM also improved to 1-1 in overtime games under head coach Keith Richard

The Warhawks shot a blistering 54.2 percent in the second half to come back from a nine-point halftime deficit. The key was a 15-2 run midway through the second half that gave ULM a 49-44 lead with 6:13 to play.

Southeastern rallied from a four-point deficit in the final minute, capped by a tip-in basket from Roosevelt Johnson with 0.7 remaining to tie the game and force overtime. ULM used a strong defensive performance after halftime as Southeastern made just 11 of 38 shots in the second half and overtime.

Junior guard R.J. McCray came up big with a career-high 17 points for the Warhawks. The Arlington, Texas native finished 5 of 12 from the field, 2 of 3 from 3-point range and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line in 42 minutes.

Junior forward Jayon James finished just shy of a triple-double with 10 points, a career-high 12 rebounds and a career-best seven assists in 41 minutes. James had eight points and two assists during ULM's 15-2 run in the second half.

Junior guard Marcelis Hansberry came off the bench to score 16 points, including a 9-of-11 performance from the free-throw line, and sophomore guard Trent Mackey scored in double figures for the second time this season with 14 points.

The ULM bench outscored Southeastern's 24-10 with most of the Warhawks' production coming from Hansberry. The Warhawks also had a season-best night at the free-throw line, converting 22 of 30 attempts.


ULM is averaging 56.6 points per game and shooting 38.6 percent (102-of-264) from the field, 30.9 percent (25-of-81) from 3-point range and 58.7 percent (54-of-92) from the free-throw line. 

The Warhawks entered Monday night shooting just 51.6 percent from the free-throw line, but converted a season-best 22 of 30 against Southeastern Louisiana, including a 9-of-10 performance in the overtime period. The Warhawks still rank last in the Sun Belt at the charity stripe with a .587 average. 

Monday marked just the second time ULM has played an overtime game under third-year head coach Keith Richard. The only other overtime contest came last season against Western Kentucky -- a 76-71 loss. Both overtime contests have come inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

Despite just three points against Southeastern Louisiana, junior guard Amos Olatayo leads the Warhawks with 13.0 points per game this season. Olatayo is shooting 43.2 percent (19-of-44) from the field, 35.3 percent (6-of-17) from 3-point range and 50 percent (8-of-16) from the free-throw line.

Junior forward Jayon James has filled up the stat page through five games this season, including a near triple-double Monday against Southeastern Louisiana. James ranks second on the team in scoring (9.6 ppg) and ranks seventh in the Sun Belt in rebounding (6.4 rpg), third in the conference in assists (5.0 apg), seventh in assists-turnover ratio (0.9) in a conference-leading 35.8 minutes per game.

The Warhawks have had balanced scoring with five players averaging at least 9.0 points per game this season: Olatayo (13.0), James (9.6), Trent Mackey (9.4), R.J. McCray (9.2) and Marcelis Hansberry (9.0). Six ULM players have scored in double figures at least once this season. 



Southern has won two straight games to improve to 3-5 on the season. The Jaguars have wins over South Dakota (83-79), Champion Baptist (90-36) and most recently over William Carey (77-50) on Monday. Southern is averaging 68.0 points per game and shooting 44.4 percent (196-of-441) from the field, 34.4 percent (55-of-160) from 3-point range and 71.3 percent (97-of-136) from the free-throw line.

Four players are averaging double figures in scoring for the Jaguars, led by Derrick Beltran's 16.3 points per game. Beltran is shooting 39.8 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from behind the 3-point line and 87.5 percent from the charity stripe on the season. Malcolm Miller adds 13.1 points, Javan Mitchell contributes 11.3 points and Jameel Grace is averaging 10.1 points and 3.3 assists per game.

The Jaguars are under the guidance of second-year head coach Roman Banks, who owns an overall record of 20-18. Prior to joining Southern, Banks was the associate head coach at Southeastern Louisiana for five seasons under head coach Jim Yarbrough.



ULM leads the all-time series with Southern 7-3, however, the two teams have not met since Dec. 20, 1985 (a 78-70 Southern victory). ULM is 5-0 all-time against Southern in Monroe.



The Warhawks return to the road for trips to Florida State (Dec. 17) and UAB (Dec. 20) before Christmas Break.

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