Jags Suffer First SBC Loss To Arkansas State

December 31, 2012 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's 

The University of South Alabama men’s basketball team sufferred their first setback in conference play with their 63-54 loss to Arkansas State Saturday night. The Jags shot a season low 27.4% for the game and never had the lead.

The loss evens the season record to 6-6 and 3-1 in the Sun Belt Conference. Arkansas State improves their overall record to 8-5 overall and 2-2 in the Sun Belt.

The Jags could only muster four three-point field goals for the game despite putting it up 27 times (14.8%) while turning the ball over 17 times. However, the Red Wolves didn’t do much better by shooting 38.2% and tied for the second lowest by a Jaguar opponent this season. But the difference was that they shot 42.9% in the second half as opposed to the Jaguars 30%.

“You don’t have to look too hard to see what the main problem was,” said interim head coach Jeff Price. “We shot 27 percent from the field. Defensively I thought we were okay. Anytime you hold a team to 38 percent you’re doing pretty darn good. I thought we were good on that end we just didn’t do as good of a job in this game of manufacturing points.”

“We weren’t just not making shots outside,” Price continued. “Think about how many inside just rolled around in the rim and could have been three-point plays and they went out of the basket. It just seemed like there was a lid on it all night. It was just one of those nights. Again, I thought defensively we were good enough to win the game. It’s ironic that the two top scoring teams come in to the game and the score ends up 63-54, but we just have to keep plugging away.”

The Jaguar struggles began before the game even started as it was announced that starter Xavier Roberson had been suspended indefinitely for a violation of athletic department and team policies. Then the Jags began the game by missing their first seven shots and didn’t get on the scoreboard until 15:14 left in the first half.

The Red Wolves came into the game leading the conference in steals, turnover margin and turnovers forced per game. They forced the Jags into committing 12 first-half turnovers on six steals and converted them into nine points.

“We made too many turnovers in the first half,” Price said. “Twelve turnovers in the first half cost us. We just have to get better and that’s on me. I have to make us better and get us to understand better.”

Mychal Ammons picked up two early fouls forcing coach Price to keep him on the bench for a large portion of the first half. Then later in the first half, Ammons would pick up his third foul which put him on the bench for the remainder of the first half.

ASU would use a 10-2 run about midway through the second half to build a 50-37 lead but the Jags would get a run of their own to answer. The Jags would begin an 11-2 run by getting the first six points from the foul line before Ammons hit a jumper and Freddie Goldstein would make his only three-pointer of the game. That run would put the Jags within 52-48 with 5:22 left in the game.

The Red Wolves would answer with a three of their own on their next possession while the Jags would only make two field goals the rest of the game, both by Augustine Rubit. The Red Wolves would also go 5-of-7 from the foul line in the final 44 seconds of the game.

Rubit led all players with 20 points while adding 17 rebounds to earn his seventh double-double of the season and 33rd of his Jaguar career. The only other Jag to score in double-digits was Antoine Allen who got the start when Roberson was suspended. The next highest scorers were Ammons and Goldstein who both had five points.

The Red Wolves had two players with 15 points in the game, which were their only double-digit scorers as well.

Jaguar players had many open shots at the basket, but simply couldn’t make them. Rubit even missed an uncontested dunk in the game. Even free throws were iffy as the Jags went 16-of-23 (69.9 percent).

South Alabama’s interim head coach Jeff Price will have to find a way to help his team over their shooting woes. But he will have to do it without their second leading scorer in Roberson as it is unknown if his suspension will be short term or if it will be long term.

The Jags are back in action on January 3rd when they travel to Lousiana-Monroe for a 7:30pm tipoff.

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