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January 5, 2013

From the Hardwood - North Texas

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ULM begins a two-game road trip at North Texas on Saturday at 7 p.m. inside The Super Pit. ULM is coming off a 77-72 loss at home against South Alabama while North Texas dispatched Troy 76-59 on Thursday. The game can be heard locally on KLIP 105.3 FM in Monroe or online at ulmwarhawks.com, with Nick White calling the action.



ULM rallied from large deficits in both halves, but it wasn't enough as South Alabama held on for a 77-72 victory on Thursday inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum. 

The Warhawks shot 51.6 percent in the second half and scored a season-high 44 points after halftime to cut a 16-point deficit to as little as four (76-72) in the final minute. ULM also trailed by as many as 17 in the first half and trailed 36-28 at halftime.

ULM's 72 points and 17 assists were season highs. The Warhawks also forced a season-high 25 turnovers and held a 33-14 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Jaguars shot 59.1 percent (26-of-44) from the field for the game and out-rebounded the Warhawks 39-15 (a season-low for ULM). The difference in the game came at the free-throw line, where South Alabama held a 20-8 advantage.

Junior guard Amos Olatayo came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Olatayo also connected on a pair of high-flying dunks and saw his most significant action since returning from an injury.

Junior forward Millaun Brown registered a career-high 13 points and junior guard R.J. McCray chipped in 10 points and five assists for the Warhawks. Junior forward Jayon James added seven points, six assists and a career-high five steals, but had his streak of double-digit rebound games snapped at five.

ULM's leading scorer, sophomore Trent Mackey, managed just six points on 2-of-12 shooting on the night. Mackey entered the game averaging 19.3 points over ULM's previous three games. 


ULM is averaging 68.7 points and shooting 46.3 percent (82-of-177) from the field and 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from 3-point range over its last three games. In comparison, the Warhawks averaged just 52.9 points and shot 36.7 percent (133-of-362) from the field and 31.0 percent (36-of-116) from 3 through their first seven games of the season.

ULM Head Coach Keith Richard has gone with the same starting lineup (McCray, Hansberry, Mackey, James and Brown) in five straight games after utilizing five different lineups in the first six games. Junior forwards Jayon James and Millaun Brown are the only two Warhawks to start in all 10 games this season.

The ULM bench has now outscored its opponent in three straight games after being outscored in six of its first seven games this season. ULM is +20 in bench scoring over its past three games.

Junior Amos Olatayo leads the Warhawks in scoring with 12.2 points per game, including a pair of 20-plus scoring games this season. Olatayo is shooting 43.5 percent (27-fo-62) from the field, 33.3 percent (8-of-24) from 3-point range and 52.4 percent (11-of-21) from the free-throw line in just six games this season.

Sophomore Trent Mackey ranks second on the team in scoring (11.9 ppg) and is third in the Sun Belt in 3-point percentage (.433) and third in 3-point makes per game (2.9). Despite just six points Thursday against South Alabama, Mackey is averaging a team-best 16.0 points while making 18 of 41 3-point attempts over ULM's past four games.

Junior Jayon James has continued to fill up the stat page this season as he averages 10.4 points per game while ranking fifth in the Sun Belt in rebounds per game (7.7), third in assists per game (4.6) and tied for eighth in steals per game (1.6). He is tied for fifth in the SBC with three double-doubles this season. James finished just short of a triple-double against Southeastern Louisiana (Dec. 10) with 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. He has led the Warhawks in assists in eight of ten games this season.

Freshman Kyle Koszuta has given ULM a nice spark off the bench in its last three games. Koszuta recorded a career-high 15 points against UAB (Dec. 20) and followed it up with career-highs in assists (6), steals (4) and minutes (25) against Florida Atlantic (Dec. 29). Koszuta most recently finished with seven points and four assists in 15 minutes against South Alabama (Jan. 3).

ULM has had balanced scoring so far this season with six players averaging at least 6.0 points per game. Olatayo leads the team with 12.2 points per game, followed by Mackey (11.9), James (10.4), junior R.J. McCray (8.2), junior Marcelis Hansberry (7.1) and Brown (6.0). Seven different ULM players have scored in double figures at least once this season and three different players have registered at least 20 points.

The Warhawks do not have a regular starter back from last season and returned just 28 percent of their scoring and 24 percent of their rebounding from a season ago.



North Texas (6-9) picked up its first conference victory of the season with a convincing 76-59 home victory against Troy on Thursday. Sophomore Tony Mitchell netted a season-best 29 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead the Mean Green to the easy victory. The Mean Green opened the conference slate with losses to UL-Lafayette (80-76), Western Kentucky (70-64) and Middle Tennessee (75-57). 

North Texas is averaging 68.0 points per game and shooting 40.2 percent from the field, 25.0 percent (51-of-204) from 3-point range and 70.6 percent (231-of-327) from the free-throw line this season. Mitchell leads the Mean Green in scoring (14.7 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg) this season while shooting 46.9 percent (75-of-160) from the field, 31.1 percent (14-of-45) from 3 and 71.3 percent (57-of-80) from the charity stripe.

Tony Benford is in his first season as the North Texas head coach following four seasons as the associate head coach under Buzz Williams at Marquette. Benford brings 20 years of Division I basketball coaching experience and has been part of 14 postseason teams. Benford has also spent time at Nebraska (2006-08), Arizona State (1998-06) and New Mexico (1992-98) in his career.


ULM leads the all-time series 28-23, but North Texas has dominated lately with wins in 10 of the past 11 meetings between the two schools. North Texas swept the season series last season with a 68-55 victory in Monroe on Jan. 14 and an 86-51 victory in Denton on Feb. 16. ULM's lone victory over the past few seasons came in an 82-75 triumph in Denton on Feb. 19, 2011.



North Texas pushed out to an early lead and cruised to an 86-51 victory over ULM inside The Super Pit.

The Mean Green shot 47.8 percent from the field and were led by Tony Mitchell's 18 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots. Alzee Williams contributed 12 points, Tyler Hall had 11 points and Roger Franklin chipped in 10 points for North Texas.

Fred Brown paced the Warhawks with 17 points and two assists, while Marcelis Hansberry scored 10 points and pulled down a career-high nine rebounds off the bench.

North Texas scored the first seven points of the game and never looked back, leading by as many as 20 (35-15) in the first half. ULM made a run late in the half to get within 41-28, but NT's Brandon Walton hit a 3-pointer to end the half and give the Mean Green a 44-28 lead at the break.

The Mean Green extended their lead with four straight points to open the second half and the Warhawks never got closer than 16 the rest of the way. ULM scored just two points in the final 8 minutes, 37 seconds of the game.



The Warhawks wrap up a two-game road trip with a visit to Troy on Thursday (Jan. 10) for a 6 p.m. tipoff inside the brand new Troy Arena. The game will be televised on the Sun Belt Network.

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