After leading at halftime 45-55 the Jags lead for 14:57 second of the second half but gave it up for the most crucial 3 seconds of the game. Domonic Tilford came out in the first half with the hot hand and ends the game with 23 to lead the Jags in scoring. Brandon Davis scored 18 and LaShun Watson scored 10 to mark the only other Jags in double digits.
USA had a chance to push the lead out to three points with 19.6 seconds left but Daniel Hayles missed both shots leaving the door open for the Razorbacks last second shot. USA was 17-25 from the foul line for the night. While USA hit on a higher percentage of foul shots, 68% to 61%, if two more had fallen for USA the game would have been tied.
Arkansas shot 55% from the three-point arc, making 12 of 22. In all of the Jaguars losses, this has been a common theme. But combine that with sloppy play in the final minutes of the game and you will typically find the recipe for a loss.
Arkansas was lead by Courtney Fortson with 25 and closely trailed by Stefan Welsh who scored 24 on the night. The largest contributor from the bench was Rotnei Clark with 12, otherwise the rest of the players, both starters and from the bench, combined for a total of 18 points.
It was an emotional game with the return of Coach Pelphrey to the Mitchell Center for the first time since his departure for Arkansas. However, the crowd was unusually quiet since the USA Outlaws were not in attendence en mass as usual. Also for the Coors Classic, the students were not crowded together as per what is usual for a typical USA home game. This factor may have worked to Arkansas’ advantage since they had a young team playing a more experienced squad.
USA will have to shake off this loss quickly because they will take the court again on Friday when Maine, Tulane and UC Davis come to town for the USA Basketball Classic at the Mitchell Center. Tulane and UC Davis will play at 5pm and the Jags will play Maine 30 minutes after that game finishes. The Tournament will wrap up on Saturday with the consolation game starting at 5pm and the championship game (hopefully with USA playing) starting 30 minutes after it ends.
The Lady Jags won 96-82 Monday night to run their record to 4-0 for the season. Six Jaguars scored in double digits: Jessica Starling with 19, Shaniece Brunner with 18, Karina Sproal with 13, Morriah Smith with 11 and both Cylenthia Kennon and Shakira Nettles both had 10.
The Lady Jags also set a new Mitchell Center record with 14 three-pointers and the most by USA since the previous school record of 16 at Troy in 2006. The 96 points scored is also a season best and two points shy of tying the record at the Mitchell Center.
USA shot 59% from the floor for the game and shot 71% in the second half.
Around the 15 minute mark in the first half, USA distanced themselves from Mercer with a 16-2 run over the course of five minutes and went into halftime with a 47-35 lead.
USA then started the second half with another run scoring 16-3 in the first four minutes and were up 65-40 with over 15 minutes to go.
The rest of the half saw some rough play by the Jags but Mercer could only get within 12 points down the stretch.
The Lady Jags will be in action again on Friday when they travel to Washington D.C. for the George Washington Thanksgiving Classic. They will open the tournament playing the host, George Washington Colonials at 4pm.
Brandon Davis and Domonic Tilford scored 16 points each while Davis had a game best 12 rebounds in the loss. While Samardo Samuels scored 24 points with 9-10 shooting from the field, 6-7 shooting from the charity stripe, three assists and three blocks. Three other Cardinal starters scored in double digits in the win. But, it wasn’t until a 14-2 second half run midway through before Louisville broke the game open.
At halftime, the Jags were down 39-27 and had only committed four more turnovers than the Cardinals but committed 13 to the Cards two in the second half.
The Jags held the Cardinals to only 44% shooting and out rebounded them 41-38 for the game, but only shot 36% and commited 24 turnovers (12 of them were steals).
Coach Arrow was quoted saying, “You could be looking at this year’s national champions. Coach Pitino has assembled a group of guys where they can go 10 or 11 deep and not miss a beat.”
The Jag will play again when the Razorbacks of Arkansas, and former USA Coach John Pelphrey, visit the Mitchell Center for what is sure to be an emotionally charged game in the annual Coors Classic. Tip-off is scheduled for 8pm and it will be broadcast regionally on Comcast Sports Southeast.
Go Jags! BLEED IT RED!
South Alabama Senior Guard, Domonic Tilford, saw his first action of the season on Saturday against the Rattlers of Florida A&M at the Billy Minardi Classic in Louisville. In less than four minutes he scored 10 points and finished the game with 17 to lead the Jags in scoring. Three other Jags scored in double figures, DeAndré Coleman with 14 points, Brandon Davis 12 and Daniel Hayles 11. Additionally, Coleman and Charles Tabet came down with nine rebounds each.
The game saw several explosions of scoring from both teams. Tilford lead it off by hitting two three-pointers in less than a minute then added two more scores for his quick 10 points leading the Jags to a 14-3 lead. Then about half way through the first half, USA lead 22-13 then went on an 8-0 run in less than two minutes. With about 6 minutes left in the first half, the Jags had a 19 point lead then the Rattlers Brandon Bryant connected on two three-pointers in 33 seconds to cut the lead to 13. Coleman made a matching pair of threes to in the final minute of the first half to lead USA into the locker room with a 47-30 lead.
The Jags came out and scored the first 19 points of the second half in a six minute span. The Jags led by as much as 39 points at one point in the game and finishing with a 93-64 win.
The Rattlers shot 34% overall and were out rebounded by USA 57-27 while USA shot 54%, hit a season best 8 threes and had 22 assists on 36 field goals.
With this win, the Jags face the #3 team Louisville on Sunday in the Championship game.
This game was an improvement over last weeks loss to the Rebels, but clearly the Rattlers are not of the same caliber as Ole Miss. Improved rebounding and better outside defense are a must if the Jags want to get back to the NCAA Tournament.
The Lady Jags score four points in the final eight seconds to cap off a 10 point deficit to earn a hard fought 66-64 victory. The Jags shot a miserable 30% in the second half.
The Jags were down by six points when Shakira Nettles was fouled while hitting a layup. She missed the foul-shot but the rebound was grabbed by teammate Shaniece Brunner who hit Nettles for another layup to shrink the lead to two points. Jessica Starling tied the game with eight seconds left in the game on another layup after USM missed two foul-shots. After a USM time-out, Nettles stole an inbounds attempt and was fouled on a drive to the hoop. With 4.5 seconds left, she sunk both shots to win the game.
Only two Jags scored in double digits, Starling with 24 and Nettles with 16.
The win pushes the Jags to 3-0 (0-0) on the season, while USM falls to 2-1. The Jags round out their four game home season opening schedule when they host Mercer on Monday at the Mitchell Center. That game has a 7:05pm tip.
On Monday night the lady jags held off a second half rally to topple the Lady Blazers of UAB 77-64. The trio of Jessica Starling, Shakira Nettles and Karina Sproal combined for 48 points for the Jags. Nettles had the game high of 17, Starling had 16 and Sproal had 15 (a career best and all in the first half).
The Lady Blazers jumped out with two quick scores early then the Lady Jags went on a 14-2 run using three turnovers to help them do so. The run started with a trey from Sproal which was one of only three on the night for the Lady Jags.
After a 12 point lead at halftime, the Blazers scored two quick baskets in the second half to cut the lead to single digits which they had not seen since about the half-way mark of the first half. The Jags quickly pushed the lead by to 13.
With about nine minutes to go in the game the blazers cut the lead down to four points and the Jags would not let them get any closer during the rest of the game.
The Lady Jags have a 7:05pm tipoff set at the Mitchell Center when they take on the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss.
A strong start by the Ole Miss Rebels en route to a 19 point halftime lead on Tuesday. David Huertas of the Rebels connected on a career tying seven three-pointers, he went 7-13 falling just one short of the Rebels all time mark of three-pointers in a game. He still finished with 27 points on the night.
Overall the Rebels hit on 11 three-pointers and out shot the Jags 47% to 42% from the field and forced 11 of 15 Jags turnovers in the first half but only allowing four turnovers in the second half.
However they did lead most of the first three plus minutes before a 14-2 run helped Ole Miss take control. Brandon Davis, who was named the first Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week on Tuesday, scored 19 points on 7-11 shooting with 3 blocks. The loss drops the Jags to 1-1 (0-0) for the season, which is only two games old.
The Jags continue their three game road trip with a 7pm tip versus Florida A&M in the opening round of the Billy Minardi Classic hosted by Louisville.
Some technical glitches plagued the beginning of the show but everything got fixed and the Joey Jones Show aired the rest of the way without any problems.
One of the first things brought up was uniforms that the team will be sporting come football season 2009. After a couple of helmet designs were shown and voted on by the players and coaches they settled on silver helmets with the new Jaguar logo on the side and red bars for the facemask. The jersey will be solid red with large numbers on the front and back as well as numbers on the sleeves and possibly “Jaguars” written across the top, front. I suspect the numbers will be white trimmed in blue but I think two paw prints would be good on the front on either side of the “Jaguars”. The pants will be silver with red white and blue stripes down the side.
This uniform will be reminiscent of Ohio State University’s uniform. Coach Jones also wants to have a reward system similar to OSU and FSU which could be paw print stickers that would be put on the helmet.
On the scheduling front, Coach Jones said that they were getting quite close to finalizing next years schedule but also have been in contact with several other schools for future scheduling such as LSU, Texas A&M and another school I was unable to hear due to the glitches mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Lee Shirvanian asked about practices, if they are open to the public and what their schedule is since many people who talk to him has been asking the same questions. Coach Jones said that the Spring practice sessions would probably be Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with scrimmages held on Saturday and they would be open to the public. They will be held at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. They could be held on the intramural fields but they do not have a dressing facility and the administration at Ladd will allow them to have their sleds and other practice gear on the field there.
Lee’s questions about the number of student athletes who are still coming out for practice and Coach Jones most memorable Iron Bowl game were both cut off by the last of the technical glitches of the day.
But this led to a short talk about planning. Their plan was crumbling and so they had to improvise. That is paralleled from a coaching standpoint. Each week the coaches come up with a game plan to implement against an opponent. It is impossible to have both a fool proof plan and perfect execution in order to implement that plan without any improvisation on the part of the coaches. Its essential for coaches to be able to adapt a game plan on the fly and in the locker room at halftime. But great coaches have their players prepared to do the same. For example, the offensive line needs to know how to react in order to properly block a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense. But what about the other defenses that they may see? They could see a 4-4, a 5-2-4, a nickle or a dime defense (we’re not talking about money or nickle and diming a team to death). Good coaches have their players ready for improvisation.
This will be South Alabama’s first recruiting class. So starting on December 1st, the coaching staff can start to go out and meet with kids one time. All of the coaches will be involved in recruiting. Coach Jones talked with Athletic Director Joe Gottfried and they agreed that every coach needs to be out from day 1 until the last day they can be recruiting according to NCAA rules. Each coach will have an area they are recruiting and Coach Jones will be traveling to meet with and help each coach in their respective area.
Lee asked what is the mixture of home visits and school visits. Coach Jones answered that obviously both have advantages and disadvantages. With school visits you get to meet the principle and teachers to see how they are doing academically. Those people can be a big influence on their decision making and help them go where it will be best for them, which is hopefully USA. Other kids can see the presence of South Alabama and could start thinking about it as a place to go. But ultimately it good to visit in the home where the decisions are made with Mom and Dad.
Lee then asked Coach Jones if he knew how many verbal commitments are solid and how many are wavering. Coach Jones said that the assistant coaches are calling recruits weekly and they get to know the kids and can tell how they are feeling. They get a sense about their commitment levels based on talking with them. But you occasionally get a surprise and have to regroup.
The coaches have a list of positions to fill and then they have a list of kids for those position. Based on many factors the kids are rated and listed in order for those posisitons. Obviously they want to land the kid on the top of the list but it doesn’t alway happen. Larger schools are recruiting against other large schools and if they lose that recruit, then they can come in and get USA’s top recruit for a position. So they have the list of kids or positions and they are in contact with many of them at a time. If their top recruit is snatched up they continue working on the next in line. Its the food chain of college sports.
One thing that Lee Shirvanian pointed out was that we could participate in JV games. Coach Jones agreed but also said that he has talked to some schools about that many do not do that, they simply focus on the Varsity team and its games. It would be a good way for 3rd string or even lower kids to gain experience however.
The last bit on recruiting that I will talk about and was brought up in the radio show was how well Nick Saban recruits for Alabama. Part of it is how he stays up on the rules but how he can find legal ways around the rules. While a coach can not meet wtih recruits during certain parts of the season, he can video conference with them. This was talked about last year. He found an innovative way to talk to kids which is not explicitly forbidden in the scope of the NCAA rules.
For those Jaguar fans in Mobile area, keep your eyes and ears open. I would expect some event to show off the new uniform to the public in the near future. The timing will obviously depend on when all aspects of the uniform and finalized and when a complete uniform can be produced for public viewing. Until then get your season tickets for the 2009 season tickets now and come out to support the basketball teams.
Both the Men’s and Women’s teams chalked up wins in their first games of the season tonight. The women won impressively 83-30 over Nicholls State at the Mitchell Center. They dominated from the very beginning with a 16-0 run and never looked back. Four lady Jags scored in double digits and they caused 36 turnovers which netted 32 points.
The Lady Jags will take the court again on Monday at the Mitchell Center when they host UAB at 7:05pm.
The Men took the lead from the beginning and never relinquished it, winning 87-79 over Alcorn State. Four starters scored in double digits led by Brandon Davis’ 21 points and a career high of 14 rebounds on the night. The Jags won the battle on the boards decisively with 51 to Alcorn State’s 29. Bryan Sherrer did a good job running the team, taking over for Daon Merritt who graduated.
The Jags looked good early but they were a bit suspect guarding the outside shot. The Braves hit on 12 of 26 attempts from outside the arc for the game. They shot better in the first half from outside the arc but halftime adjustments by Coach Arrow tightened their defense of the outside shot.
The Jags took a 57-44 lead into the locker room at halftime but were outscored in the second half 35-30. While this is a good start to the season, it did reveal some things that must improve for the Jags in order to win the SBC Championship.
The Jaguars plays again on Tuesday when they travel to Ole Miss for a 7pm tip-off against the rebels.
Congratulations to Caitlyn Collins who won the halftime sumo wrestling match to retain the SGA Presidents office against the President of the South Alabama Outlaws. Also congratulations is due to Ward Miller, band director at South Alabama, for the performance of the pep band (oh and thanks for my t-shirt). Previous pep bands were a small but enthusiastic group of musicians who came out to support the team. Now the pep band is larger and more organized with more instruments in the mix.
With the college football season starting to wind down, now is a good time to look at what the SBC conference standings look like.
Louisiana-Lafayette is currently on top of the SBC with a 4-0 conference record 5-4 overall. Needing one more win to become bowl eligible this season. Second place is Troy who’s record is 6-3 (4-1 Conf) and have reached bowl eligible status. Then the rest of the conference: Florida International 4-5 (3-2), Arkansas State 4-5 (2-2), Floridat Atlantic 4-5 (2-2), Middle Tennessee State 3-6 (2-3). The final two are Louisiana-Monroe 3-7 (2-4) and North Texas 1-9 (0-5) and neither are eligible for a bowl appearance.
Western Kentucky, whos basketball team is part of the Sun Belt Conference, plays football as an independent. If WKU would join the Sun Belt when USA joins that would give the conference 10 teams. Plus if an additional two teams would join, then the Sun Belt would be eligible to have a conference championship game similar to the SEC. But in order for this to happen, a conference must have 12 teams. Which is why a couple seasons ago we had the shake-up between the ACC and the Big East where Miami and Virginia Tech jumped over to the ACC. That gave the ACC two more big programs and 12 teams so they could add a championship game.
That reshuffling really hurt the Big East. However the teams in the ACC are not fairing much better. When you hear the names of the top two teams in the Big East, Pittsburg and Cincinnati, it doesn’t really strike much fear into you. However when you hear the top two teams in the ACC, Florida State and North Carolina, they strike a bit more fear. All four teams have 2 losses but that championship game in the ACC sets that conference farther apart from the Big East.
Go Jags! Bleed it red!