Stunning 1st half deficits down Warhawks

Cameron Jett, Editor-in-Chief

Conference tournament season is nearly here, and ULM is on a streak, but it’s not one that any team wants.

ULM men’s basketball dropped its fifth consecutive game in the Sun Belt Conference with road losses to the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns on Thursday and the South Alabama Jaguars on Saturday.

The Warhawks fell to the Cajuns 84-67 and then suffered an 85-41 loss to South Alabama two days later.

Both losses came by way of low-scoring Warhawk (11-16; 7-9) first halves. ULM’s opponents outscored the Warhawks by a combined 93-38 in the first half. ULM allowed 30-plus point leads in each game. ULL (21-7; 11-5) went up by as much as 34, while the Jaguars (15-14; 8-8) climbed as high as 39 points over ULM.

Senior guard Jamari Blackmon, ULM’s leading scorer, scored just nine points combined through both games.

“The scouting report is out on us,” head coach Keith Richard said after Thursday’s loss.

The games fell apart quickly for ULM. The Cajuns went up by 22 in less than 10 minutes, and the consistent Warhawk guards were locked up by ULL. The Warhawks were limited in scoring across the board, but Richard said he hoped to find another scoring option to open up his offense again.

Sophomore forward Thomas Howell scored a team-best 16 points in Thursday’s loss. Richard said that Howell “could be a big part of that.”

But on Saturday, Howell shot 1-of-10 and just had four total points in the blowout loss to the Jaguars.

After a slight ULM lead early on, the Jags had their own 22-point lead as the first half ended.

Meanwhile, the Jags had a scoring frenzy, with four players scoring double-digit points. Greg Parham II led the effort for South Alabama with 19 points off the bench.

Richard also stretched his bench out during the loss. He played 10 players, which is the most he’s used in a Sun Belt game this season.

Richard and his Warhawks have two regular-season games left. They host Troy on Wednesday and Arkansas State on Friday to conclude the regular season.

After this five-game skid, ULM sits at 10th overall in the Sun Belt.