Jags Down Conference Rival WKU 65-57

January 25, 2013 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's 
Augustine Rubit earned his 10th double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds against the Hilltoppers. Photo by John Adams | usajaguars.com

Augustine Rubit earned his 10th double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds against the Hilltoppers. Photo by John Adams | usajaguars.com

The South Alabama men’s basketball team used a strong second half performance to defeat longtime conference rival Western Kentucky 65-57 Thursday night at the Mitchell Center. The Jags broke open the game with a 14-2 run midway through the second half to take control for good.

The Jags inprove to 10-8 overall on the season and 7-3 in Conference play and was the schools first back-to-back win since December 22. The Hilltoppers fall to 11-10 on the season and 5-5 in conference play. The Jags stay one game ahead of FIU for second place in the Eastern Division and continue to trail Middle Tennessee by two games for first place. WKU is tied with FAU for fourth place in the Eastern Division.

At halftime the Jag led 28-23 but early in the second half the Hilltoppers would catch up and take a 33-30 lead with 16:46 left in the game. But neither team would lead by more than three points until Augustine Rubit put in two free throws and Antoine Allen hit a three-pointer with 11:10 left in the game.

Hilltopper’s Aleksejs Rostov would answer with a layup but Allen would answer it with another three-pointer to begin a 9-0 run where the Jags would push out to their largest lead of the game, 51-39, with 8:36 left in the game.

“…right around that 12-, 13-minute mark we had a timeout and said, ‘Let’s just get this done guys and finish strong.’ As soon as I said that, it’s like they looked at each other and finished strong,” Price said after the game. “We just finished the game very strong.”

However the Jags struggles from the foul line allowed the Hilltoppers to work their way back into the game late. Brandon Harris would hit a three-pointer to cut the Jaguar lead to 60-54 with 53.7 seconds left. Jaguar players would only manage to hit two of their next four attempts from the foul line for an eight point lead.

Harris would be fouled while shooting a three-pointer by Javier Carter and he would pour in all three shots to cut the lead to 62-57 with 38.0 seconds left in the game, their closest margin since the 10:09 mark. Allen would sink both of his free throws and the Jaguar defense would tighten up and force two misses.

“Obviously just a really hard fought game,” interim head coach Jeff Price said after the game. “I thought our guys were tremendous. At a stretch at the 12-minute mark in the second half where we just turned it on and got that thing up to 10 points, mostly based out of the intensity of our defense. We keep stressing creating an offense out of our defense and getting stops and we’re going to have nights where we aren’t shooting the ball well and continue to defend and be intense and help each other. We were great helping each other.”

“Aug’s huge,” Price continued. “I’m so pleased with his effort. (He had) 19 (points), 11 (rebounds) with another double-double. Not that as much as just his will to win has been so good. And want the ball and finish plays and make things happen. He’s just been so good at that. His effort has just been tremendous and he’s willing this team to win right now. He’s been great. His motor has been great. He’s been playing heavy minutes. We try to give him rest as much as we can in practice. He comes to games ready to play. He’s running the floor great and he’s demanding the ball. He gets pushed off his spot a lot but comes back and gets it. He takes a beating and he keeps on ticking. He just has been tremendous.”

Augustine Rubit would earn his 10th double-double of the season with 19 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. He complimented that with four blocks, two steals and two assists.

Antoine Allen went 3-of-6 from outside the arc to chip in 19 points and seven rebounds. Mychal Ammons would add 10 points and seven rebounds.

Javier Carter added seven points and two blocks to extend his streak to 12 consecutive games with a blocked shot and is one block behind Reginald Poole for 16th place on the Sun Belt’s career list with 168 blocks.

Freddie Goldstein would score three points before leaving the game in the first half with a shoulder injury. He did not return for the remainder of the game.

The Jags will host their third and final game of this three-game homestand when they host FIU on Sunday for a 4:05pm tipoff.


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