Sun Belt Conference Tournament Recaps
(Friday, March 8th)
Final Score: Western Kentucky 74, ULM 60
Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - T.J. Price led the way with 18 points as the sixth-seeded Western Kentucky Hilltoppers dismissed the 11th-seeded ULM Warhawks, 74-60, in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Summit Arena.
George Fant added 12 points on 6-of-6 from the field for WKU (17-15), which will battle third-seeded South Alabama in the quarterfinal round on Saturday.
For ULM (4-23), Kyle Koszuta scored 15 points, Millaun Brown tallied 12 points and seven rebounds, while Amos Olatayo and Trent Mackey netted 10 points apiece.
WKU dominated the first half, outshooting ULM from the field, 69.2 percent to 32.3 percent, as it went into halftime with a 46-24 lead.
The Warhawks gained some ground on their deficit after intermission by shooting 56 percent from the field in the second stanza, but the Hilltoppers' advantage was never in question.
WKU was red-hot from 3-point range, connecting on 11-of-22 from beyond the arc.
Final Score: Louisiana 74, North Texas 55
Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Elfrid Payton tallied 20 points, seven assists and seven rebounds as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns made easy work of the North Texas Mean Green, 74-55, in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Convention Center Court.
Payton also added two blocks and two steals for Louisiana (13-19), which will take on No. 1 seed Middle Tennessee in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Bryant Mbamalu and Alan-Michael Thompson netted 16 points apiece for the eighth- seeded Cajuns, while Shawn Long notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
For ninth-seeded North Texas (12-20), Jordan Williams scored 19 points, Roger Franklin had 13 points and Tony Mitchell registered 10 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Although Louisiana was outshot from the field in the first half by North Texas, 47.8 percent to 36.8 percent, it still took a 33-29 lead into intermission by attempting 15 more field goals in the opening 20 minutes.
The Cajuns cruised in the second half by improving their field goal efficiency to 50 percent.
Louisiana gained extra possessions by outrebounding North Texas (41-39) and winning the turnover battle (14-7).
Final Score: Troy 81, Florida Atlantic 79 (OT)
Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Emil Jones scored the first eight points for Troy in overtime as the Trojans slipped by Florida Atlantic, 81-79, in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Summit Arena.
Jones shot just 5-of-16 from the floor on the night, but connected on 8-of-9 at the free-throw line as he finished with 18 points and seven rebounds for 10th-seeded Troy (12-20). Ray Chambers added 15 points and seven rebounds of his own, followed by Tevin Calhoun with 12 points for a Trojans squad that will be back in action on Saturday in the quarterfinals versus second-seeded Arkansas State.
The seventh-seeded Owls (14-18) were paced by Stefan Moody with a game-high 29 points, while Pablo Bertone and Greg Gantt responded with 20 and 19 points, respectively, in the losing cause.
FAU shot an impressive 52.2 percent from the floor in the first half, but the squad was just 2-of-7 beyond the arc over the first 20 minutes of action which allowed Troy to move out to a 36-30 advantage at the break.
In the second half the Owls again shot the ball well from the field, hitting at a 53.8 percent clip, but still the meeting headed to overtime knotted at 70-70.
During the extra session both squads connected on four field goals, but the Trojans held a 3-1 advantage at the charity stripe in order to capture the thrilling win.
In a game that featured 10 ties and eight lead changes, Troy held an 18-15 edge at the free-throw line and also turned the ball over just five times, compared to 11 miscues for the Owls.
03/09 01:36:10 ET