MONROE, La. -- ULM closed out the regular season with a 71-63 loss to UL-Lafayette on Saturday inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum. The Ragin' Cajuns led the entire way, but had to hold off a flurry of ULM rallies in the second half.
ULM (4-22, 3-17 SBC) shot 39.6 percent for the game and struggled at the free-throw line, making 16-of-27 attempts on the night. The Ragin' Cajuns (12-19, 8-12 SBC) countered by shooting 42.6 percent, including eight 3-pointers, for its fourth straight victory in Monroe.
Junior Amos Olatayo led the Warhawks with 21 points, his ninth game this season with 20 or more points. Olatayo finished 6-of-14 from the field and 9-of-14 from the free-throw line. He also added eight rebounds and four assists.
Junior Jayon James chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals and sophomore Trent Mackey finished with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, for the Warhawks. Mackey moved into sole possession of 10th place on ULM's single-season 3-pointers list with 68.
The Ragin' Cajuns led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but he Warhawks cut the lead to 66-62 on a pair free throws from Olatayo with just under two minutes to play. ULL responded with a tip-in bucket from Shawn Long and a pair of free throws from Bryant Mbamalu on consecutive possessions to seal the victory.
Long led UL-Lafayette with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Mbamalu and Alan-Michael Thompson each finished with 13 points.
ULM trailed 34-26 at the break, but scored the first six points of the second half to get back into the game. A layup from Olatayo at the 17:16 mark cut the Ragin' Cajun lead to 37-36, the closest the Warhawks would get.
UL-Lafayette scored 11 straight points, capped by a dunk from Elfrid Payton with 12:42 remaining to increase its lead to double-digits. A 3-pointer by Thompson and two free throws by Long increased the Ragin' Cajuns lead to 53-39 with 10:53 remaining.
ULM put together one final run in the final minutes as Olatyao scored eight points during a 10-3 spurt to pull the Warhawks within 64-60. The Ragin' Cajuns followed with points on three straight possessions.
The Warhawks will be the No.11 seed at the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tournament and open play on Friday (March 8) at 6 p.m. CT. The opponent is still undetermined.