South Alabama Men’s Basketball earns two-day vacation with 74-69 victory over Texas A&M – Corpus Christi

December 16, 2012 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's 

Corpus Christi guard Johnathan Jordan defends Barrington Stevens during Sunday’s 74-69 victory at the Mitchell Center

South Alabama men’s basketball snapped a two-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon, defeating Texas A&M Corpus Christi 74-69 on a rainy night at the USA Mitchell Center. The Jaguars used a 14-2 run at the start of the game to pull away from the Islanders and they never looked back.

The Islanders three-point prowess (10-23) kept them in the game but it wasn’t enough to outduel the Jaguars who shot 25-of-59 from the floor.

Head coach Ronnie Arrow has stressed defense every day during practice following his team’s 92-78 defeat at the hands of UAB on Dec. 8. That renewed commitment to defense finally paid off on Sunday and Arrow responded by rewarding his team with two much-needed days off before practice resumes for the Dec. 22 conference match-up with Arkansas Little-Rock.

“I thought we really played well at the start of the game,” Arrow said. “I thought we really played well for most of the game. We came back and spent three very hard days on defense. We got after each other. We’ve been giving up far too many points.

“They still got 69 points, but I think until the last four minutes we were playing really good defense and we gave up some threes uncontested and didn’t guard the hole like we should have. But I thought overall our defense was a lot better.”

Augustine Rubit looked a lot better too, scoring 23 points and pulling down 19 rebounds. The junior All-Sun Belt player also made a little bit of history on Sunday afternoon, tying a career-high in rebounds and is now just three points away from 1,000 in his collegiate career. That mark is good for 14th on the all-time South Alabama scoring list.

The Islanders started the contest with a Zane Knowles jumper but the next eight minutes was all South Alabama as the Jaguars orchestrated a 14-point run. Brandon Pye broke the streak for Corpus Christi with an unassisted three-point jumper but Rubit responded with a lay-up and free throw to increase South Alabama’s lead to 17-5.

Mychal Ammons tacked-on a lay-up at the 12:03 mark to restore South Alabama’s 14-point lead.

Corpus Christi finally found their range following the Ammons bucket, with Will Nelson and Brandon Pye nailing three-consecutive three-pointers to start closing the gap. Joy Williamson hit his first layup at the 8:06 mark to end an 11-0 TAMCC comeback that made the score 21-18.

That is as close as Corpus Christi would get as South Alabma responded with an 11-0 run that virtually put the game out of reach.

Corpus Christi was led by Pye and Johnathan Jordan with 17 points each. Williamson and Nelson scored 12 points each with Nelson also grabbing eight rebounds.

The win puts South Alabama at 5-5 on the season, with TAMCC falling to 1-6.

The Corpus Christi game was the Jaguars final non-conference contest on the schedule. Little Rock will come into the Mitchell Center next week leading the SBC West with an 8-4, 2-0 record. While South Alabama has struggled to get back to a .500 record, Arrow was quick to remind everyone that the Jaguars are still 2-0 in conference with a share of the SBC East lead.

“Little Rock is young, physical and well-coached,” Arrow said. “But they are also susceptible to turnovers. Now we’re 2-0 in conference play and we want to get to 3-0 and that’s what we’re going to work on as soon as we’re rested.

Follow Matt Weaver on Twitter at @MattWeaverJAG

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