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December 10, 2012It took overtime, but the Warhawks broke into the win column for the first time on Monday night with a 68-61 win over Southeastern Louisiana. The win also snapped the nation's longest home losing streak of 20 game, dating back to January 4, 2011; and the first division-one win at home since downing Northern Colorado in 2010.
"Both teams were fighting for their first D1 win on the season, they've had a murderous schedule; we've had a murderous schedule," Head Coach Keith Richard said. "Both teams were really hungry for the win, and our players did a tremendous job."
ULM (1-4, 0-2) led by four points with just under a minute left to go, but Southeastern Louisiana (1-6) surged behind Roosevelt Johnson's tip-in with .7 seconds left to send the game into overtime. Johnson ended the night with a double-double, 12 points and 18 rebounds. In the extra frame though, it was the Warhawk's free throw shooting that sealed the win, connecting on nine of ten attempts.
"I didn't know how we would respond in overtime, we didn't respond very well in the second half in other games this season," Richard said. "I was concerned about how they would play in overtime; having it won there late, but they showed me something, and hopefully they showed themselves. We have a new team, and played only nine scholarship guys tonight. I'm really happy with them, and hope it helps us down the line."
Hot second half shooting overcame a sluggish 29.2% first half showing. Junior guard R.J. McCray set a new career high with 17 points to lead the Warhawks. ULM had a double-double player of their own, as Jayon James pounded the boards for 12 rebounds, while chipping in 10 points. James was also three assists short of a triple-double.
"I'm happy for R.J., he's playing a new position, and you can tell it by watching him that he's not a true point guard; but he's improved enough to help us," Richard said. "He's not going to be a big assist guy, we just don't want him to be a big turnover guy."
The Lions owned the first half, as they shot lights out in the paint, outscoring ULM 14-4 there. This along with the Warhawk's poor shooting and two offensive rebounds allowed the visiting team to build up a nine point half-time lead.
"We talked at the half that this was going to be a close game, and we knew it," Richard said. "We just needed to play better offensively in the second half since you can't beat anybody shooting 29%. Southeastern was making plays around the rim, and we just were not making them. We talked extensively about scoring 10 feet and in and good things happened."
ULM will look to pick up their second win of the season on Thursday night when they host Southern (3-5) in Fant-Ewing Coliseum.