ULM (2-8) at North Texas (6-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UNT Coliseum (10,032) -- Denton, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: ULM 2-3, UNT 4-3. Away Record: ULM 0-5, UNT 0-5. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, UNT 2-1. Conference Record: ULM 1-3, UNT 1-3. Series Record: ULM leads, 28-23.
GAME NOTES: A pair of struggling Sun Belt Conference teams will meet in Denton, Texas on Saturday night when the North Texas Mean Green play host to the ULM Warhawks.
ULM was able to capture a 65-64 come-from-behind victory over Florida Atlantic last Saturday for its first conference win of the season, but it reverted back to its losing way on Thursday night when it dropped a 77-72 home bout against South Alabama. The Warhawks have now lost eight of their first 10 games this season, including all five away from Monroe.
After stringing together three straight wins in mid-November to move to 3-2, North Texas' season took a turn for the worse as it dropped its next four games and seven of nine to fall below .500. The Mean Green were able to bounce back in their Thursday night showdown against Troy however, claiming a 76-59 victory for their first Sun Belt win in four tries.
ULM leads the all-time series with North Texas, 28-23, although the Mean Green have won 10 of the last 11 meetings.
The Warhawks trailed by double-digits for most of the contest against South Alabama, but thanks to a 10-2 run late they were able to make it a four-point game with just over a minute to play, but they would get no closer as their comeback attempt fell short. It was an efficient all-around effort for ULM in the setback, as it shot 46.7 percent from the field and won the turnover battle by commanding 25-12 margin. Amos Olatayo was the team's top scorer, pouring in 18 points off the bench, while Millaun Brown (13 points), R.J. McCray (10 points, five assists) and Jayon James (seven points, six assists, five steals) were also impressive. On the season, ULM's offensive success has been few and far between, as it shoots just 39.9 percent from the field while sporting a conference-worst scoring margin of minus-13.4. Olatayo (12.2 ppg) has played in just six games this season and has been inconsistent, scoring 18 points or more three times while netting seven points or less three times. Trent Mackey (11.9) shoots 43.3 percent from 3-point range, while James (10.4 ppg) stuffs the stat sheet with 7.7 rpg, 4.6 apg, and 1.6 spg.
North Texas never trailed in its 17-point win over Troy the last time out, shooting 48.3 percent from the field while holding to Trojans to a mere 34.4 percent. Tony Mitchell showed why he is one of the league's most dominant players as he posted 29 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks, all while shooting 9-of-17 from the field and 10-of-12 from the foul line. Jordan Williams did his part in chipping in with 12 points and six boards, Roger Franklin and Alzee Williams tallied 10 points apiece, and P.J. Hardwick handed out seven assists. On the season, the Mean Green haven't been as efficient as they would like to be from the floor, draining just 40.2 percent of their field goal attempts for 68.0 ppg. Mitchell is the unquestioned catalyst, putting up 14.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.6 bpg and 14 3-point field goals, all of which pace the unit. Jordan Williams, Alzee Williams and Franklin all average between 9.1 and 11.4 ppg, as did Chris Jones (5.0 apg, 2.3 spg) before we went down with a broken foot last week.
ULM has shown some promise of late, but even if it is starting to drain more shots at the offensive end, it's still not able to stop anyone from putting up big point totals. At home, UNT should be able to power past the Warhawks for its second straight league win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Texas 78, ULM 67
01/05 10:33:15 ET