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Jags Hold On To Defeat FAU 72-71

February 11, 2013 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's 
Augustine Rubit scored 18 points to move into the Top 10 career scorers in South Alabama history. Photo by John Adams | usajaguars.com

Augustine Rubit scored 18 points to move into the Top 10 career scorers in South Alabama history. Photo by John Adams | usajaguars.com

The South Alabama Jaguars needed a key putback by Augustine Rubit to hold on for a 72-71 win over Florida Atlantic at the Mitchell Center Saturday night in front of the largest crowd in two seasons. Rubit missed his shot with 35.2 seconds left in the game but fought for the rebound and putback.

The win improves the Jags record to 14-9 overall and 11-4 in Sun Belt play, the Jags first 11 win conference record since the 2007-2008 season. Florida Atlantic falls to 11-15 on the season and 6-9 in Sun Belt play.

“It was just another really hard-fought game,” interim head coach Jeff Price said in his post-game press conference. “I keep telling people our games are going to be battles. With our depth and the way we’re limited, we just have to grind out games. I don’t know that we’re going to blow anybody out. I sure would love to, but I think this is something we’re going to see the rest of the year. Our guys know how to play in close games. If you go back and look at our win margins, they’re really close, but we’re finding a way to get it done. We’re doing what we need to do at the end of the game, which is impressive to our credit.”

Rubit finished the game with a team-high 18 points and five rebounds. He accounted for the Jags final seven points of the contest but missed several minutes in the second half due to an ankle injury. He was able to play down the stretch but was visibly limping at times.

“He (Rubit) really wasn’t anywhere near 100 percent, but if he’s in the game, we’re going to go to him, hurt or not hurt,” Price explained. “We went to him, and he found a way to get it done. He had a late basket, and the last one he missed, he tipped it back in. He did what he had to do, and he did a nice job on the last defensive possession before the timeout.”

It was another game that kept the fans engaged and excited as neither team led by more than two points in the final 6:16 of the game. Actually there were 12 ties and 12 lead changes.

Jordan McCoy tied the game at 63-63 with a three-point play at the 6:16 mark then both teams traded scores on the next six possessions, which was capped off with two foul shots by Stefan Moody with 4:04 left in the game to tie it back up at 69-69.

Defenses on both ends of the court would tighten up only allowing five total points in the final four minutes of the game. Rubit broke a tie making one field goal before McCoy hit two to take the lead with 1:02 left in the game. Rubit’s key tip-in came with :35 seconds left in the game to give the Jags the final margin of 72-71.

South Alabama went into the locker room at halftime thanks to free throw shooting. They made 11 of 12 attempts while only shooting 34.6 percent from the floor.

Florida Atlantic’s Greg Gantt is the eighth-leading scorer in the nation and had a game-high 23 points on 4-of-8 shooting from outside the arc. However the Jaguar defense was held scoreless for almost the final 14 minutes of the game.

“I think we were very dysfunctional in the first half,” Price observed. “We were lethargic again, and we were standing around too much. They crushed us on the offensive glass in the first half. We gave up 13 points in the paint and nine offensive rebounds, which can’t happen with our team.”

“Gantt’s just a great player, and you have to know where he is at all times,” Price said. “If you let up off the ball for a second, he’s going to find a way to get open. They screen for him, and he doesn’t need a lot of space to get a shot off. He’s a good player. He cut loose a couple times, but I thought our effort was pretty good on him for the most part.”

The Jags shot 18-of-20 from the free throw line in the game. Rubit moved into South Alabama’s top 10 in career scoring and into 14th place in the Sun Belt in career rebounds.

The Jags close out their three-game homestand on Thursday when they host Louisiana-Lafayette for a 7:05 tipoff at the Mitchell Center.

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