templates/ArticleTopCenter.tmpl Men's Basketball Opens 2012-13 Season Sunday at Oklahoma - ULM Warhawks Athletics
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Men's Basketball Opens 2012-13 Season Sunday at Oklahoma
Courtesy: ulmwarhawks.com
Release: November 10, 2012
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Setting the Stage
ULM at Oklahoma
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012
Time 2:00 p.m. (CT)
Location Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center

Fox Sports Southwest

Radio/Live Audio
105.3 (Monroe) | ulmwarhawks.com
Internet Live Stats | Twitter: @ULMWarhawks
Game Info
Game Notes (PDF)


ULM opens the 2012-13 season Sunday with a trip to the sooner state to take on Oklahoma at 2 p.m. The game will be televised by Sooner Sports TV on Fox Sports Southwest (Channel 32 on Comcast in Monroe; Channel 676 on DirecTV) with Chad McKee (pbp) and Billy Tubbs (analyst) calling the game . The game can be heard locally on KLIP 105.3 FM in Monroe or online at ulmwarhawks.com, with Nick White calling the action. Live stats are also available by visiting ulmwarhawks.com.
2012-13 marks the 62nd season of ULM men's basketball. The Warhawks have an overall record of 896-774 through the years with 38 winning seasons. ULM has won 10 regular-season conference championships, eight conference tournament championships and has made nine postseason tournament appearances -- seven in NCAA Tournament and two in National Invitational Tournament (NIT).

NEW LOOK IN 2012-13
ULM looks for a fresh start in 2012-13 as it returns just one regular starter and five letterwinners off last season's squad that finished 3-26 overall, 2-14 in the Sun Belt. The Warhawks return 45.9 percent of its scoring and 31 percent of its rebounding from last season.

Junior Charles Winborne is the only regular starter back from last season for the Warhawks. Winborne made 21 starts and ranked second on the team with 11.2 points per game in 2011-12. He also led the team in 3-point makes (57) and ranked fourth in the Sun Belt in 3-point field-goal percentage (.435). 

Four other letterwinners return from last season, including junior guard Marcelis Hansberry, junior guard R.J. McCray, sophomore guard Trent Mackey and sophomore forward Trey Lindsey. Also back is sophomore forward Ife Eke, who redshirted last season due to a season-ending injury during preseason practice.

Hansberry has the most experience of the bunch as he has appeared in 54 career games and made 15 starts in his career. The junior from Jackson, Miss., averaged 5.8 points per game last season, but finished the season strong with an average of 11.3 points and 2.4 assists over ULM's final seven games.

Mackey had a solid freshman campaign last season as he averaged 5.8 points and 1.2 assists per game. He finished second on the team and fifth in the Sun Belt in 3-point percentage (.433).

McCray is the Warhawks' leading returner in steals (20) and blocked shots (6), while Lindsey made the third-most starts of any returner last season.

ULM returns a majority of its 3-point production from last season, including junior Charles Winborne and sophomore Trent Mackey, who were two of the better shooters from beyond the arc in the Sun Belt. Winborne made a team-best 57 3-pointers and shot 43.5 percent, the fourth best mark in the Sun Belt, while Mackey went 42-of-97 from deep and ranked fifth in the Sun Belt, shooting 43.3 percent last season as a freshman.

Winborne and Mackey combined to make 99 3-pointers and shot a combined 43.4 percent from deep last season.

NEW FACES           
ULM will rely on six newcomers to make up for the loss of four starters from last season. Junior College transfers Jayon James and Amos Olatayo should be the biggest contributors as each has experience at the Division I level. James comes to ULM from Lamar State-Port Arthur, where he averaged 7.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game last season. The 6-6 forward spent his freshman season at Iona College, where he appeared in just 12 games as he struggled with a foot injury. Olatayo earned all-conference honors last season at Navarro College as he averaged 9.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. The 6-4 guard began his career at Stephen F. Austin and provides ULM with experience at the guard position.

Also joining the squad is junior forward Millaun Brown (6-7) from East Mississippi Community College, freshman guard Kyle Koszuta (6-2) from Niceville, Fla., freshman guard Taylor Birchett (6-4) from Roswell, Ga., and walk-on Colton Ponder (6-5) from Shreveport, La.

ULM is 28-33 all-time in season openers and 0-2 under current head coach Keith Richard. The Warhawks will be opening up against a member of a power conference for the fourth straight season.

The Sooners return all five starters and 88 percent of their scoring from last season's team that finished 15-16 overall, 5-13 in the Big 12. Senior guard Steven Pledger is Oklahoma's leading returner in scoring (16.2), minutes played (32.9), field goals (170), 3-point field goals (72), 3-point percentage (.416) and free-throw percentage (.833). Also back for the Sooners are double-digit scorers Romero Osby (12.9) and Andrew Fitzgerald (12.1).

The league's coaches picked the Sooners to finish seventh in the Big 12 this season.

Oklahoma's Lon Kruger begins his 27th year as a collegiate head coach and his second with the Sooners. Kruger owns a career record of 494-320 in his time with Pan American, Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma. He has guided his teams to 13 NCAA Tournaments and one Final Four appearance.

Oklahoma leads the all-time series with ULM, 4-0. The Sooners defeated the Warhawks 72-61 in the last meeting between the two teams on Nov. 17, 2009. OU also defeated ULM 95-68 on Nov. 23, 1996; 93-68 on Dec. 3, 1994; and 101-95 on Jan. 5, 1985. All four previous meetings took place in Norman.

Oklahoma has two current players on its roster that appeared in the game in 2009 -- Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitgerald. Pledger finished with eight points in 16 minutes of action while Fitgerald went scoreless in eight minutes. The Warhawks do not have a player remaining from that team.

ULM head coach Keith Richard is 0-1 all-time against Oklahoma. The only meeting came in 2001 when his Louisiana Tech squad narrowly missed an upset in a 71-67 overtime loss in Norman. Oklahoma went on to the Final Four that season. 

ULM is 4-15 all-time against the current members of the Big 12. The Warhawks have three victories over TCU and a win against Baylor to its credit. ULM's last meeting with a Big 12 school came in the season opener in 2010-11, an 86-67 loss at Texas Tech. 

Head coach Keith Richard has added to his staff as he enters his third season at ULM. Richard hired former Bossier Parish Community College assistant Ryan Cross and former Louisiana Tech standout player Lonnie Cooper to his staff. Also new to the program this season is former ULM player Fabio Ribeiro as the team's graduate assistant coach. All three have either played for or coached with Richard in the past.

Cross brings a wealth of collegiate coaching experience to the Warhawks and a familiarity with coach Richard. Cross served on Richard's staff at Louisiana Tech from 2003-06 and previously had head coaching stints at Chipola Junior College (1999-03) and Barton County Community College (1998-99).

Cooper was a four-year starter and three-time All-Sun Belt performer for Louisiana Tech from 1995-99. As a senior, he earned first team All-Sun Belt honors and led the Bulldogs to the Sun Belt regular-season title in Richard's first season as head coach.  He played 11 years professionally overseas and was part of eight championship teams during that stretch.

In its 62nd season of men's basketball, the ULM program enters the 2012-13 season just four wins shy of 900. The men's basketball program has been one of the finest at ULM over the years as the Warhawks have captured 10 regular-season conference titles, eight conference tournament championships and have appeared in the NCAA Tournament seven times and the NIT twice.

The ULM men's basketball team has shown significant improvement in its academic progress rate (APR) over the past two seasons and the NCAA has taken notice, announcing in March that the Warhawks would have all 13 scholarships available and be able to participate in postseason play for the 2012-13 season. ULM graduated three players last season, including Hugh Mingo, Christian Bibi Ndongo and Fabio Ribeiro.

ULM will still be partially sanctioned this season as it will have two hours less practice time each week and will play 10 percent less games than the rest of the team's across the country.

"I am really proud of our players that were with us for the past two years that really made a difference in the classroom," Head Coach Keith Richard said. "We gave them a lot of support, held them accountable and they really responded."


With the departure of Denver, the Sun Belt has moved to a 20-game conference schedule for the 2012-13 season. In the new format, ULM will play a home-and-home schedule with every team in the conference. With the addition of the 20-game conference schedule and the 10 percent reduction in the schedule, ULM will play just six non-conference games this season.

The Conference will still have two divisions with ULM, UL-Lafayette, UALR, Arkansas State and North Texas making up the West Division and Florida Atlantic, FIU, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, South Alabama and Troy making up the East Division.

The ULM men's basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Sun Belt West Division in a poll of the league's head coaches.

North Texas was the unanimous pick to win the Sun Belt West Division with a total of 55 points. The Mean Green was followed in the standings by Arkansas State, UALR, UL-Lafayette and ULM. 

Defending regular-season champion Middle Tennessee garnered all 11 first place votes and a conference -best 65 points as the favorite to win the East Division of the Sun Belt. The Blue Raiders were followed by South Alabama, Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic, Troy and FIU.