Warhawks escape Bobcats for season sweep

Cameron Jett, Editor-in-Chief

Call it déjà vu because this wasn’t the first time ULM earned a narrow victory over a certain conference rival out of San Marcos.

A second-half surge gave ULM’s men’s basketball team (8-11; 4-2) some valuable momentum in the Sun Belt Conference and sent the Texas State Bobcats (10-9; 3-3) back home with their second loss to the Warhawks this season. 

Senior guard Jamari Blackmon iced the game with four points scored in the final 14 seconds to secure a 61-58 win.

His performance helped ULM earn its first sweep of the Bobcats since the 2015-16 season.

Blackmon never touched the bench in all of Saturday’s matchup and contributed 24 points to ULM’s winning efforts. On the defensive side, Blackmon was tasked with containing Texas State’s explosive guard Mason Harrell. 

Basketball head coach Keith Richard said that Blackmon’s performance on the defensive side was “a tough effort.”

“Harrell was hunting his shot today. He’s such a hard guard because he’s a three-level scorer and he’s a great free-throw shooter,” Richard said. “It takes tremendous concentration in every possession to guard him.”

Harrell shot 5-of-17 from the field to tally his most misses in conference play this season, with Blackmon locking up against him for most of the game.

Texas State took a 6-0 run into halftime along with a 25-22 lead. Up to this point, ULM had lost every game this season when trailing at the break. 

But Richard’s team walked out of the locker room poised to break that trend.

Sophomore forward Thomas Howell said at the half that the game had gone as they expected it. He said they knew there would be fewer possessions than normal in this game.

During a timeout with three minutes left in the second half, the coaches decided it was time to run a play to attempt to flip the one-point deficit.

Howell completed a three-point play after being fouled on a layup to take the lead away from Texas State for the remainder of the game.

Rightfully so, Howell showed some excitement as soon as he heard the whistle. He let out a yell as he walked to the line to extend the lead by another point. 

And while Howell’s moment was big for the Warhawks, he gave credit to Blackmon for his two-way effort in the game. After the game, Howell said that Blackmon is “the best on-ball defender he’s ever seen.”

But now their attention shifts from playing on a familiar court to a four-game conference road trip.

The first stop on the trip features Georgia Southern on Thursday.