Weekend split determined by first basket


Carley Nail

UP-AND-OVER: Sophomore forward Thomas Howell attempts to pass over a defender.

Cameron Jett, Editor-in-Chief

First to score, first to win.

The ULM men’s basketball team found itself on each end of that coin in the first two games back home in Fant-Ewing Coliseum. Senior guard Jamari Blackmon willed the Warhawks (11-14; 7-5) to an 83-70 win on Thursday over Coastal Carolina (10-14, 4-8) with his second 35-point performance of the season in a game that was decided in the first half.

ULM’s offense stalled early in Saturday’s game against South Alabama, a team that never forfeited the lead it took after just 20 seconds of play on the way to a 72-64 Jaguar victory. ULM’s game prep for Thursday sought to limit Essam Mostafa, Coastal’s forward who has the third-most double-doubles in the NCAA.

Warhawks coach Keith Richard said that ULM’s hot start, along with defensive pressure from forward Victor Baffuto, helped negate Mostafa for the game. Mostafa tallied just one point and four rebounds through 26 minutes on the court. His scoring woes ignited the home crowd, who cheered Baffuto as he swatted Mostafa’s shot and followed up with a finger wave.

ULM didn’t replicate the effective first-half offense that connected on 10 of its 3-pointers, but Blackmon took 12 trips to the foul line in the second half and finished 14-of-15 on free throws. The 35-point outing by Blackmon put the Jaguars on notice leading into Saturday’s game.

He said he faced an “aggressive” defense out of the gate that pressured him as he searched for his shot. The Warhawks found it difficult to contain Isaiah Moore, the Jaguars guard who shot 13-for-19 and finished with 31 points. Although Moore hit most of his shots, Blackmon aimed to pressure him and forced six turnovers. Blackmon started to hit shots late in the contest to trim down the Jaguar lead to as little as six points.

The Warhawks had to foul and hope for misses at the free-throw line, but South Alabama sunk 10- of-12 free throws at the end of the match. ULM concludes a three-game stay at home on Thursday.