Upsets Abound on Saturday Night in the Sun Belt
In four of the five games played in the Sun Belt Conference last night, the team that was lower in the standings was the winner.
First place Georgia State, second place WKU and then-third place Arkansas State all came up short, as did fifth place UALR. Only UT Arlington was able to beat a team lower than it in the standings.
UL MONROE 65, ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK 49–In Monroe, Tylor Ongwae scored 25 points and Arkansas-Little Rock couldn’t overcome a brutal first half of shooting as ULM defeated UALR 65-49 Saturday afternoon at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
Jayon James had a double double for ULM (8-12, 5-7) and R. J. McCray chipped in twelve points.
UALR (12-14, 7-7) shot just 6-26 in the first half and scored only 13 points. ULM led by 13 at the break and the Trojans got no closer than six the rest of the way.
Ben Dillard led UALR with 14 points. James White had eleven points and twelve rebounds.
The margin of victory was ULM’s biggest in a conference game since December, 2007.
SOUTH ALABAMA 69, WESTERN KENTUCKY 62 –WKU was colder than temperatures in Minnesota in the first half and their second half rally fell short as the Hilltoppers suffered a bad loss to South Alabama 69-62 at E. A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.
The Toppers shot a miserable 4-28 (14.3%) in the first half as South Alabama (8-17, 2-10) jumped out to a nineteen point lead in the first half before settling in with a 26-14 lead at the break. WKU got no closer than six points as South Alabama led wire to wire.
It was the first road win of the season for the Jaguars, who were 0-10 as a road team. It also broke a six game losing streak. Mychal Ammons and Augustine Rubit each had double doubles for the Jaguars, with Ammons scoring a season high 20 points with eleven rebounds. Rubit tallied eleven points and 13 boards.
George Fant had a double double for WKU (17-9, 9-4) with 17 points and ten rebounds. T. J. Price added 15 points for the Hilltoppers.
TROY 85, GEORGIA STATE 81–Georgia State’s winning streak came to an abrupt end last night as Troy got a career high 27 points from Jeff Mullahey and knocked off the first place Panthers, 85-81, ending GSU’s winning streak at 14 games.
Troy (9-15, 4-8) led by 13 points with just over twelve minutes left, but Georgia State (17-7, 10-1) roared back behind R. J. Hunter to the the game at 75-75. But Mullahey and Antoine Myers got clutch baskets to get the Trojans back in front to stay. Tevin Calhoun had a double double to help the Trojans’ cause
Hunter scored 26 points to lead the Panthers. The sophomore hit the 1,000 point mark in the loss, a feat accomplished in 55 games. Manny Adkins scored 18 points for GSU, who turned the ball over only five times in contest.
LOUISIANA 85, ARKANSAS STATE 67–It was a night of individual superlatives which led to a team victory as Louisiana (17-9, 8-5) used a 15-0 run in the second half to break open a tight game and beat Arkansas State 85-67 at the Cajundome for their fifth straight win.
Elfrid Payton had 22, points, six rebounds, seven assists and six steals to lead the Cajuns’ attack. Bryant Mbamalu scored 18 of his season-high 19 points in the second half. Shawn Long had a double double and hit the 1,000 point mark for his career. The sophomore is the 41st Cajun to get to that milestone and the second this season (Payton.)
J. J. Davenport came off the bench to score 13 points with six rebounds as the fourth man in double figures.
Melvin Johnson III and Kendrick Washington each had 19 points for the Red Wolves (14-9, 7-5) with 19 points.
Louisiana held Arkansas State to 41 percent shooting and had a rebound margin of +17 in the win, which moved the Cajuns past ASU into third place in the league.
UT ARLINGTON 69, TEXAS STATE62 –Reger Dowell, the Sun Belt’s leading scorer, scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half to lead UL Arlington (11-13, 6-6) to a 69-62 win over in-state rival Texas State at the College Park Center.
UTA shot just 30 percent in the first half as the Bobcats (7-17, 3-8) took a 33-25 lead into the locker room at halftime. But the Mavericks shot 59 percent in the second half to get the win. UTA outscored Texas State 23-9 from the free throw line.
Brandon Edwards had a double double with 18 points and twelve rebounds for UTA. Wes Davis and Joel Wright both scored in double figures for the Bobcats.
(Information from sunbeltsports.org and school websites contributed to this story.)