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January 20, 2010

Warhawks tied to success

Warhawks tied to success

Things are evident in Louisiana-Monroe's modest midseason turnaround: The Warhawks have improved defensively, they are very good at home, and have a little luck on their side.  ULM (8-11, 3-5 SBC) remains in the bottom four in the Sun Belt Conference in most defensive categories, but its numbers are improving and the results speak for themselves. The Warhawks won both SBC games last week, against South Alabama and Denver, in both games defense was an obvious factor.

The Warhawks forced 23 turnovers in a 61-58 victory over South Alabama and 21 more in a 64-53 win over Denver. ULM has won five of its last eight games since ending a six-game losing streak, and improved to 7-2 at home.

Dynile Forbes, who scored a team-high 14 points in the win over South Alabama, had five steals against Denver when ULM scored 30 points off turnovers.

After allowing nearly 78.7 points per game through its first 11 games, ULM has allowed just 65.6 points per game in its last eight contests. In the five wins in that span, opponents are shooting just 39 percent (103 of 258), scoring at a 60.2 points per game clip and have committed a total of 88 turnovers.

Rudy Turner, who played just five minutes against South Alabama due to back problems, scored 19 points against Denver. Jarvis Hill came off the bench to score in double figures for just the fourth time in 19 games with 13 points in the win over South Alabama.

Perhaps the less obvious factor in the Warhawk's recent success is the new maroon and gold tie Head Coach Orlando Early is sporting courtside.  "It's definitely a superstitious thing right now," Coach Early said.  "I wore it for our win over South Alabama, and against Denver, so hopefully I'll be wearing it the rest of the season,  you just might have to do interviews a few further steps back."



 F Tommie Sykes posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds as ULM earned its second straight Sun Belt Conference win, 64-53, over Denver last week.  It was Sykes' first double-double since at ULM, and his first since his freshman year at Odessa Junior College.

 G Jarvis Hill came off the bench for 13 points and three assists in last week's 61-58 victory over South Alabama. Hill scored in double figures for just the fourth time in 19 games.


On The Spot:   ULM will need to have its new tougher defense carry over to the road. ULM, which is 1-9 away from Fant-Ewing Coliseum, plays two of its next three games away from home.


Quote To Note: "We got dominated on the glass, we shot 30 percent from the floor and had 16 turnovers, but I'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day."
-ULM coach Orlando Early, after his club defeated South Alabama.



Season Recap:   ULM has gotten better defensively, allowing 65.6 points per game in its last eight, an improvement of more than 13 points per game from its first 11 outings. The club remains one of the top rebounding teams in the Sun Belt Conference. The emergence of 6-4 junior Tommie Sykes, who leads the Warhawks with 5.9 rebounds per game, has helped ULM move into second place in the Sun Belt in rebounding margin (plus-2.5 per game). The Warhawks, winners of five of their last eight games after losing six in a row, are third in the SBC in defensive rebounds. Sykes has averaged 6.7 rebounds in his last 13 games.


Player Rotation:  


G Tony Hooper

G Dynile Forbes

G Jarvis Hill

F Rudy Turner

F Lawrence Gilbert

Key Subs-G Warren Fuselier, G Colby Carr, F Tommie Sykes, C Rory Burt.


Game Review:  

Florida Atlantic 74, ULM 61

ULM 61, South Alabama 58

ULM 64, Denver 53


Upcoming Games:  

vs. Middle Tennessee, Thursday, Jan. 21

at New Orleans, Saturday, Jan. 23

at Troy, Thursday, Jan. 28

vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, Saturday, Jan. 30

vs. Western Kentucky, Thursday, Feb. 4


In Focus:   Tommie Sykes is just 6-4, but he is ULM's leading rebounder at 5.9 boards per game. No one, says ULM coach Orlando Early, works harder inside than Sykes. "Tommie's work ethic is really good," Early said. "He works hard every day. He plays hard. He's been a huge energy boost for us."


Roster Report:  

 F Rudy Turner injured his back in pre-game warmups and was limited to five minutes of action in ULM's 61-58 win over South Alabama on Jan. 14. The 6-8, 275-pound Turner played 28 minutes in a 64-53 win over Denver just two days later.

 Junior C Fabio Ribeiro has missed nine straight games with a foot injury.


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