football

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."
NOTES, QUOTES
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.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
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:
Starters
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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