La.-Monroe faces Ga. Southern in Sun Belt semis
Louisiana-Monroe (18-14, 11-9) vs. No. 3 seed Georgia Southern (20-11, 12-6)
Sun Belt Conference Tourney Semifinals, Lakefront Arena, New Orleans; Friday, 7:30 p.m. EDT
BOTTOM LINE: A ticket to the Sun Belt championship game is about to be punched as Louisiana-Monroe and Georgia Southern are set to do battle. The teams split the regular season series at one win apiece. The teams last met on Feb. 8, when Georgia Southern made just 11 free throws on 13 attempts while the Warhawks went 21 for 27 en route to the nine-point victory.
PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE: Senior leadership could play a big role in this game’s outcome. Tookie Brown, Montae Glenn and Simeon Carter have collectively scored 41 percent of Georgia Southern’s points this season and 51 percent of the team’s points over its last five games. For Louisiana-Monroe, Daishon Smith, Travis Munnings and Michael Ertel have scored 63 percent of the team’s points this season, including 70 percent of all Warhawks points over their last five.
KEY FACILITATOR: Ertel has either made or assisted on 43 percent of all Louisiana-Monroe field goals over the last three games. The sophomore guard has accounted for 19 field goals and 16 assists in those games.
WINLESS WHEN: Georgia Southern is 0-6 this year when it scores 72 points or fewer and 20-5 when it scores at least 73.
UNBEATEN WHEN: Louisiana-Monroe is a perfect 5-0 when it turns the ball over seven times or fewer. The Warhawks are 13-14 when they record more than seven turnovers. The Georgia Southern defense has forced 14.4 turnovers per game in conference play and 14.6 per game over its last five.
DID YOU KNOW: The Georgia Southern offense has scored 83.5 points per game this season, ranking the Eagles eighth among Division 1 teams. The Louisiana-Monroe defense has allowed 74.1 points per game to opponents (ranked 226th).