USA Defeates William Carey 76-53
South Alabama Men’s Basketball team used a strong defensive effort to defeat William Carey 76-53 Monday night at the Mitchell Center. Four Jaguars, including two freshmen, scored in double-figures while holding William Carey to 35.1% shooting for the game.
William Carey ended the first half with a 7-2 run to narrow the Jaguar lead to 38-28 heading into halftime but the Jaguars defense opened the second half by only allowing one field goal in the first 5:43 of the second half and only went 8-of-29 (27.6%) overall in the second half.
William Carey came into the game ranked #10 in the NAIA preseason poll and averaging 92 points in the first two games of the season.
Senior Augustine Rubit earned his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds but struggling from the free throw line by going 2-of-12. The team as a whole only shot 14-of-30 from the charity stripe.
Freshmen T.J. Johnson and Ken Williams set career highs with 12 and 11 points respectively. Johnson came off the bend to shoot 5-of-7 from the floor and a perfect 2-of-2 from outside the 3-point arc. Williams went 4-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-4 from outside the arc. Williams came into the game shooting 1-of-14 from outside the arc.
Sophomore Barrington Stevens III scored all 10 points in the second half by going 4-of-4 in field goal attempts while adding three assists.
USA saw their lead fall into single digits only once in the second half as the Crusaders continued to fight to stay in the game. However a 12-3 run put the Jags up by 18 points. Junior Dionte Ferguson began the run with a dunk then freshman Austin Karazsia added four straight as part of an eight-point unanswered run by the Jags.
A 13-5 run near the finale of the game put the Jags up by 25 points with a minute left.
“I thought we did a good job of playing with a lot of intensity early on,” South Alabama head coach Matthew Graves said after the game. “We came out and really defended well early. One of our goals was to really improve in our transition defense and for the most part we did that tonight. So that was certainly a step in the right direction from the game with Texas to now.”
“We just need to continue to put together more of a full 40 minutes of action,” he continued. “We still have lulls in our game and part of that is having a young team and part of that is learning a new system. At the same time, the focus is each and every possession, you have to play it like it’s your last possession and we’re getting better at that but we still have a long ways to go.”
When asked about the teams free throw shooting Graves dismissed it, saying he was not concerned about it. He pointed out that against Texas they shot 80% as a team. Graves explained, “It’s one of those things that happens, you don’t want it to happen.”
Rubit’s march up the history books continues. He moved into fifth place in Sun Belt Conference history with 923 rebounds and stands 10 shy of fourth and 11 shy of third. He also only became the eighth player in school history to make 500 field goals. With his two blocked shots, he passes Ronald Douglas for fifth in school history.
The Jaguars will host the CBE Classic this weekend. The Jags will start against Southern Miss at 7:05pm in the Mitchell Center.