The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Winning streak ends to Bayou State rival

ULM Athletics
NETS FOR METS: Nika Metskhvarishvili pulls up over a ULL defender in the paint.

Following an optimistic three-game win streak in conference play, the ULM men’s basketball team reluctantly added another tally to the loss column. After falling 80-72 to the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, head coach Keith Richard said that he knew the match wouldn’t be easy.

“Louisiana Lafayette, in this building, hadn’t lost but once in two years,” Richard said. “So, this was a tough task coming in anyway.”

ULL’s (14-8; 7-3 Sun Belt Conference) only home loss in two years came at the hands of fellow SBC opponent James Madison, a team that started the season by beating the, at the time, No. 4 Michigan State Spartans.

The first and only tie of the game came during the second minute. Senior guard Savion Gallion shot inside the paint, good for 2 points.

The Ragin’ Cajuns quickly pulled away to not only regain but to extend their lead. Two turnovers by ULM and a foul helped ULL to put 9 points on the board and push its lead to 13.

“We got out of whack a little bit for a stretch there where the lead got out on us,” Richard said.

Despite 14 field goals on 31 attempts in the first half by the Ragin’ Cajuns, they pushed in the paint, pressuring ULM (7-13; 3-7 SBC) and snuffing second chance points. ULL totaled 18 defensive rebounds while holding the Warhawks to a mere six.

Another challenge for ULM was dealing with the high-tempo scheme of the Ragin’ Cajuns. ULL managed to steal possession of the ball 16 times and generate 21 points off of quick possession changes. Using the mistakes as a learning opportunity for the team, Richard said that sometimes it’s best to go back to the basics.

“You can’t turn the ball over 16 times against this team in their home building. That’s just easy points for them,” Richard said. “Take care of the ball, even if you gotta be a little cautious with it because we can’t afford to give them runout layups.”

The Warhawks corrected their mistakes and only turned the ball over five times in the second half, outpacing ULL with six.

“We regrouped at halftime with it, and I thought the second half did much better in terms of calming our nerves down and chilling out,” Richard said. 

Trying to overcome the score gap, the Warhawks began to settle down. A rebound by senior forward Nika Metskhvarishvili and a jumper by junior guard Tyreese Watson brought ULM to its smallest deficit of 9 points.

ULL’s Kobe Julien undid ULM’s progress by accounting for 9 points in a little over three minutes. Julien and the rest of the Ragin’ Cajuns kept the Warhawks out of striking distance the rest of the game. Despite ULM finishing the second half outscoring its opponent 38-34, it was too late. ULL kept its home record clean with another win inside the Cajun Dome.

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