ULM (3-8) at Troy (6-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Trojan Arena (6,000) -- Troy, Alabama. Television: Sun Belt Network. Home Record: ULM 2-3, Troy 4-4. Away Record: ULM 1-5, Troy 1-5. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, Troy 1-1. Conference Record: ULM 2-3, Troy 1-4. Series Record: Troy leads, 6-2.
GAME NOTES: The Troy Trojans attempt to close out their two-game homestand on a high note, as they entertain the ULM Warhawks in a Sun Belt Conference tilt on Thursday night.
Despite ULM's disappointing 3-8 record, its win total has already matched last year's, when it went a dreadful 3-26 overall. The Warhawks have done most of their damage in the past few weeks by winning two of the last three contests, knocking off conference foes Florida Atlantic (65-64) and North Texas (81-68).
Troy got the season off to an solid 4-2 start only to fall into a prolonged slump, losing eight of its next nine. The Trojans finally snapped out of it last Saturday by defeating Arkansas-Little Rock, 67-64, for their first conference win of the year.
After ULM won the first two meetings in the series with Troy, the Trojans have reeled off six straight wins.
ULM found itself down by one with less than six minutes to play in its latest bout, but it was able to close out the proceedings on a 21-7 run to pull away for the impressive road victory. Pacing five players in double figures was Jayon James with 19 points, while he also added 10 rebounds and six assists. Amos Olatayo scored 17 points, Marcelis Hansberry tallied 13 points and six boards, and R.J. McCray and Trent Mackey chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Despite the outburst, the Warhawks still have the league's worst scoring offense (59.7 ppg), and their season certainly hasn't been helped by the fact that the opposition averages 70.7 ppg. Olatayo leads the team with 12.9 ppg, while Mackey (11.7 ppg) does most of his damage from 3-point range, draining 31-of-72 long-range buckets (.431). James stuffs the stat sheet with 11.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, and 4.7 apg, although he has committed a team-high 58 turnovers.
Troy also pulled off a comeback victory in its most recent game, coming from 10 points down with less than 13 minutes to play to knock off UALR. The Trojans benefited from a spectacular bench performance that outscored Little Rock's second unit, 40-15, with Emil Jones (18 points) and Ray Chambers (11 points) both putting forth impressive efforts. Westley Hinton narrowly missed a double-double in the victory, tallying 10 points and nine rebounds. While ULM has performed better of late, Troy has struggled from the field pretty much all season, making less than 39 percent of its total shots and averaging a mere 62.1 ppg. The team relies heavily on the 3-point shot, attempting nearly 23 per game, but its efficiency from beyond the arc has been rather suspect (.311). Jones is the only player to score in double figures on a nightly basis, putting up 10.1 ppg to go with 6.1 rpg, 2.7 apg and 1.6 spg. Hunter Williams (9.5 ppg, 3.1 apg) and Antoine Myers (9.3 ppg, 3.2 apg) have also been solid in the backcourt.
ULM showed against North Texas that it is capable of winning away from home, but it's hard to expect consistency from a squad that has struggled so mightily at both ends of the floor this season. With that said, expect the Trojans to feed off the energy in the building and to win their second straight contest as a result.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Troy 67, ULM 62
01/10 10:37:28 ET