templates/ArticleTopCenter.tmpl ULM Opens Sun Belt Play Thursday at Home Against Western Kentucky - ULM Warhawks Athletics
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Amos Olatayo
Courtesy: Jeremy Stevens / ulmwarhawks.com
ULM Opens Sun Belt Play Thursday at Home Against Western Kentucky
Courtesy: ulmwarhawks.com
Release: November 28, 2012
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Setting the Stage
Western Kentucky at ULM
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012
Time 7:30 p.m. (CT)
Location Monroe, La. | Fant-Ewing Coliseum
ESPN Full Court | ESPN3
Radio/Live Audio
105.3 (Monroe) | ulmwarhawks.com
Internet Live Stats | Twitter: @ULMWarhawks
Game Info
Game Notes (PDF)


ULM hosts Western Kentucky on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the conference opener for both squads. The game is the second part of a doubleheader at Fant-Ewing Coliseum as the ULM women's team hosts Western Kentucky at 5:15 p.m. The men's game can be heard locally on KLIP 105.3 FM in Monroe or online at ulmwarhawks.com, with Nick White calling the action. Both games will be televised by the Hilltopper Sports Satellite and will be available on ESPN Full Court and ESPN3, with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt on the call.

ULM fell to 0-2 on the season with a 68-52 loss at Louisiana Tech on Saturday. The Warhawks trailed 36-34 with 17:46 remaining in the game before Louisiana Tech used a 21-0 run -- spanning eight minutes -- to take control. 

ULM finished with 22 turnovers, the most in a game since committing 26 at Iowa two seasons ago. It marked just the second time under head coach Keith Richard that the Warhawks have committed 20-plus turnovers in a game.

ULM raced out to an early 8-2 lead and led by as many as seven (17-10) in the first half before Louisiana Tech rallied to take a 36-28 lead at halftime. The Warhawks shot a blistering 54.5 percent from the field in the opening half, but cooled down in the second half, shooting 33.3 percent.

Sophomore guard Trent Mackey finished with a career-best 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Mackey also made 3 of 5 from 3-point range and 2 of 2 from the free throw line as he surpassed his previous career-high of 13 points.

Juniors R.J. McCray and Jayon James each recorded 10 points and four assists against the Bulldogs. It was the first time that James has recorded double figures in scoring in his career and the fifth time that McCray has reached double figures. Junior guard Amos Olatayo finished with a game-high nine rebounds and three steals for the Warhawks.

Through two games, ULM is averaging 51.5 points per game while shooting 38.5 percent (40-of-104) from the field, 21.4 percent from 3-point range (6-of-28) and 53.1 percent from the free-throw line (17-of-32).

Junior guard Amos Olatayo leads the Warhawks with an average of 14.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals in 32.0 minutes this season.

The Warhawks have four players averaging at least eight points per game so far: Olatayo (14.0), sophomore Trent Mackey (8.5), junior R.J. McCray (8.5) and junior Jayon James (8.0).

The Warhawks have recorded 18 steals in two games, led by Olatayo with six and junior Millaun Brown with five.

Western Kentucky enters play Thursday with a record of 4-2 on the season with wins over Austin Peay (74-54), Western Carolina (92-81), DePaul (70-61) and Brescia, Ky. (74-46). The Hilltoppers are averaging 71.5 points per game and shooting 40.7 percent from the field, 24.4 percent from 3-point range and 63.9 percent from the free-throw line.

Senior Jamal Crook is the Hilltoppers' leading scorer, averaging 17.7 points and 4.0 assists per game. Crook is shooting 58.1 percent from the field (36-of-62) and 76.9 percent from the free-throw line (30-of-39). Also averaging double figures in points are sophomores T.J. Price (13.7 ppg) and George Fant (10.4 ppg).

Ray Harper is in his first full season as the head coach at Western Kentucky after taking over in the middle of last season and guiding the Hilltoppers to the Sun Belt Tournament championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Western Kentucky has gone 15-10 since Harper took over as head coach. Harper also has head-coaching stops at NAIA Oklahoma City University (2006-08) and NCAA Division II Kentucky Wesleyan (1997-2005), where he combined to win four national championships.

Western Kentucky owns a 7-1 advantage in the all-time series against ULM, including three straight wins in the series.

The current winning streak started with an 81-61 WKU victory over ULM in Bowling Green on Feb. 5, 2011. Later that season WKU knocked off ULM 66-50 in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Hot Springs, Ark.

The Hilltoppers held on to defeat the Warhawks 76-71 in overtime last season in Monroe in the only meeting between the two teams

ULM's lone win in the series came in a thrilling 67-66 victory in Monroe on Feb. 4, 2010.

ULM rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half to force overtime before eventually falling to Western Kentucky 76-71 last season in Fant-Ewing Coliseum. It marked the first overtime game for the Warhawks since 2008.

The Hilltoppers scored the first four points of the overtime period and sealed the victory by going 8 of 13 from the free-throw line in the extra session. Western Kentucky finished the game 28 of 39 from the charity stripe.

The Warhawks shot 46.4 percent (26-of-56) from the field but went just 5-of-16 from 3-point range.

Hugh Mingo had a game-high 23 points for the Warhawks, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.

• George Fant finished with 17 points, while Derrick Gordon tallied 13 points and Kevin Kaspar contributed 11 points for the Hilltoppers.

The Warhawks are 1-5 in Sun Belt openers with five straight losses. ULM is 0-2 under head coach Keith Richard, but ULM has played tough in both games, losing by a combined seven points against Florida Atlantic (58-60) and Western Kentucky (71-76, OT).This marks the third straight season that ULM has opened the conference slate at home.

ULM continues Sun Belt play Saturday as it travels to face UALR at 7 p.m. inside the Jack Stephens Center.