This is the last day of 2013 as we get ready to ring in 2014. This is a good time to reflect back on this year in South Alabama Sports.
Some of our favorite moments of 2013 where: USA Softball winning their second consecutive SBC title, hosting an NCAA Regional and having seven named to the All-America List; USA Baseball making the NCAA Starkville Regional; USA Volleyball second half of the season to make the SBC Tournament, Freshman Mechell Daniel, Jessica Lewis and Mallory Moore weekly honors down the stretch of the season; USA Football’s thrilling wins over Tulane and Western Kentucky, how close they were to potentially beating Tennessee in Knoxville, their domination in their final three games of the season against Louisiana-Monroe, Georgia State and Louisiana-Lafayette to earn bowl eligibility in their first season eligible; USA Basketball’s Augustine Rubit’s being named Player of the Year and his year of breaking both school and conference records.
South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit broke the all-time rebounding record for the Sun Belt Conference, but his team lost to New Mexico State 82-64 as four Aggies scored in double-digits.
NMSU started quickly by jumping out to a 13-5 lead in the first four minutes of the game and never looked back. The Aggies got a game-high 18-points from Daniel Mullings and 65 total points from their five starting players. They shot 63.5% from the floor, the most allowed by the Jaguars this season. They shot 68% in the second half alone.
In the second half, Mychal Ammons completed a three-point play in the Jaguars first possession of the second half and cut the Aggie lead to eight, but NMSU would score 11 of the next 12 points in a stretch of 1:29 to go up by 18 points.
The Jaguars would try to fight back and would get within 10 points on three difference occasions, but the Aggies would have an answer each time.
Augustine Rubit and Antoine Allen were the only Jaguars to score in double-digits with 11 and 10 points respectively. Rubit finished with a team-high six rebounds. Freshman Aakim Saintil added nine points, seven of them after halftime, and had four assists.
“I think it’s an unbelievable individual achievement. To be the leading rebounder in a conference’s history really says something about how great of a rebounder he is,” Jaguar head coach Matthew Graves said after the game. “I know he’s disappointed about his game tonight but with the way he rebounds the basketball, he’s going to have better games than this.”
“I thought we started off the game very timid, for whatever reason,” Graves explained. “We weren’t very assertive and attacking. We missed a wide open ‘3’ early, Augustine went 0-for-3 at the free-throw line and we allowed our lack of production on the offensive end on the floor to affect how we guarded. There were stretches where New Mexico State was trying to allow us an opportunity to get back in the game a few times and we didn’t take advantage of it. Ultimately when you allow a team to shoot 63.5 percent from the flield, you’re not going to win those type of games.”
“Certainly they’re talented and I don’t want to take anything away from them but at some point, you’ve got to have enough pride in guarding your own man and deciding enough’s enough when you continue to get scored on and not allow it to happen again,” Graves said. “It was tied to how bad we were playing offensively and we really let that dictate our energy and effort on the defensive end of the floor.”
“If we’re wanting to win championships, and that’s what we want this program to be about, we’ve got to focus more on the defensive end. For the most part this year we’ve done a good job defensively, but tonight was a very bad outing for us.”
Saintil earned his first career start while Jaguar point guards combined for seven assists and no turnovers. The team’s six turnover were a season low, but the Jags 24 rebounds and -14 rebounding margin were also season lows for the game.
USA hopes that their tough road non-conference schedule this season will pay dividends during conference play. The Jags will open conference play at home when they host rival Western Kentucky on Thursday evening with tipoff scheduled for 5:05 PM at the Mitchell Center.
The University of South Alabama men’s basketball team are on the road on Saturday as they face New Mexico State in Las Cruces, New Mexico for an 8pm CST tipoff. This is the Jaguars final non-conference game of the season.
USA is 6-6 on the season but 0-5 on the road this season are hoping to get their first road win before starting their conference schedule. New Mexico State is 10-5 on the season and 5-1 at home. The Jags will have their hands full as the Aggies have two tall post players, 7’5″ Sim Bhullar and 6’11” Tshilidzi Nephawe. Renaldo Dixon also stands 6’10” for the Aggies.
The Aggies have five players averaging almost 10 points per game. Daniel Mullings leads the team in scoring with an average of 16.6 per outing and 3.9 rebounds per game. D.K. Eldridge averages 10.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, K.C. Ross-Miller averages 9.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, Nephawe averages 9.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and Bhullar averages 9.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
This will be the first game in a week for the Jaguars. In their last outing they lost to the University of Arkansas, but were within three points in the second half before the razorbacks surge turned the Jaguar rally away. They then had the week off for Christmas.
USA is averaging 73.2 points per game while allowing 67.1 points per game to opponents. NMSU averages 74.7 points per game whiel allowing 70.1 points per game.
South Alabama head basketball coach Matthew Graves is looking to see more consistent effort on both ends of the floor. He has been working with the team to get them to make the extra pass and to get into the paint. They have been shooting well in the first half from outside the three-point arc, but the season has been a tale of two halves. The Jags need a more consistent effort from the players on the floor scoring as well.
The Jaguars and Aggies tipoff at 8pm on Saturday. Play-by-play can be heard on 105.5 FM WNSP and www.WNSP.com.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!
AL.com has a poll posted asking “Who should be the 2013 Coastal Alabama Sportsman of the Year?” An argument could be made for every person in the poll as to why they should be Sportsman of the Year.
Augustine Rubit – University of South Alabama Forward, two-time SBC Player of the Year, USA all-time leader in rebounds, 2 rebounds away from a new conference record in rebounds
Archie Bradley – Pitcher Mobile BayBears
Carmen Carlos – Vanderbilt Cross Country former McGill-Toolen star
DeMarcus Cousins – NBA’s Sacramento Kings
Josh Donaldson – Oakland A’s 3rd baseman, former Faith Academy star
Rodney Hudson – Kansas City Chiefs center, Former B.C. Rain star
AJ McCarron – University of Alabama quarterback, former St. Pauls Star
CJ Mosley – University of Alabama linebacker, former Theodore Star
Captain Munnerlyn – Carolina Panthers cornerback, former Murphy High Star
Jake Peavy – Boston Red Sox pitcher, former St. Paul’s Star
Phil Savage – Senior Bowl Executive Director
Ann Schilling – Bayside Academy Girls’ Volleyball coach
Darrel “Bubba” Wallace Jr. – NASCAR Truck Series driver
Tre Williams – St. Paul’s Linebacker, Auburn University commit
Bobby Wyatt – University of Alabama golfer, former UMS-Wright Star
Recruiting has been heating up but with a dead-period between now and January 3. During the dead period coaches can call recruits, but they cannot meet with players on university campus nor anywhere else.
Coach Jones will be looking at replacements for former wide receivers coach Jerry Mack, who accepted the head coaching position with North Carolina Central University last week.
The South Alabama men’s basketball team traveled to North Little Rock, Arkansas to face the University of Arkansas on Saturday night. The Jags were down by 12 and cut their deficit to three midway through the second half, but Arkansas went on a 6-0 run to reclaim control and win 72-60.
The loss drops the Jags back to .500 on the season at 6-6 while the Razorbacks improve to 12-2 on the season.
Senior Antoine Allen scored a game high 21 points for the Jaguars as he converted three 3-pointers and 13 of them coming in the second half.
Junior Mychal Ammons added 14 points and six rebounds while Senior Augustine Rubit was held to a season low eight points but his 10 rebounds allowed him to surpass the 1,000 career rebound mark and is only two shy of a new Sun Belt Conference career record.
The Razorbacks had four score in double-digits. Bobby Portis scored 15, with 12 of them coming in the first half. Rashad Madden added 12 with eight of them coming in the second half. Michael Aualls and Alandise Harris added 11 and 10 points respectively.
The Jags are 0-5 on the road or in neutral site games while they are 6-1 at home. A season high 20 turnovers complicated the game for the Jaguars.
After a break for Christmas the Jags will travel to Las Cruces, New Mexico to face New Mexico State on Saturday, December 28 at 8pm CST.
The Lady Jags traveled to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to face the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest on Friday evening.
The Jags fell 92-66 as a pair of Demon Deacons combined to score 51 points. Derica Hamby led the way with 31 points and 11 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season and both were game-highs. She was 12-of-20 from the floor while added four assists and four steals.
Chelsea Douglas added 20 points on 7-of-19 shooting with five assists and four steals.
As a team, Wake Forest forced 25 Jaguar turnovers and had 15 steals. They dominated the paint with a 50-18 scoring advantage as well as points off turnovers with a 31-14 advantage. They also dominated the glass with a rebounding advantage of 51-28 with 24 of them being offensive rebounds.
Meghan Dunn led USA with 17 points, all in the second half, as she went 6-of-11 from the floor and went 5-of-8 from three-point range. Ronneka Robertson added 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Jennifer Johnson was just short of a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds with a career high four blocked shots.
The Lady Jags, who are now 2-8 on the season, will break for Christmas and will return to action on January 1 when they begin their Sun Belt Schedule by hosting Western Kentucky at the Mitchell Center.
The South Alabama men’s tennis team released their 2014 spring schedule. It features a six-match home stand and two tournaments. They begin their season with Florida A&M and Florida State in Tallahassee. They could also face two ranked teams in the final three home matches of the season.
The conference tournament will be in New Orleans on April 18-20. Their full schedule can be found here.
Former South Alabama assistant coach Jerry Mack has accepted the head coaching position at North Carolina State. He becomes the 22nd head coach in NCCU history and his first head coaching position.
He replaces interim head coach Dwayne Foster who led the Eagles to a 5-7 record after former head coach Henry Frazier III was fired in August after allegedly violating the terms of a domestic voilence order. Mack just finished his second season as the wide receivers coach at South Alabama.
Mack, 33, played wide receiver at Jackson State and Arkansas State. He was an assistant coach at Delta State, Jackson State, Central Arkansas, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Memphis before coming to Mobile. He also had three internships in the NFL with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.
This is the second Jaguar assistant coach to accept a FCS head coaching position in the last two seasons. Former defensive coordinator Bill Clark was named head coach at Jacksonville State University last year.
Good luck coach Mack!
The University of South Alabama head football coach Joey Jones announced that four junior college transfers have signed on to play football.
Of the four, two of them were named first-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-Americans this fall. They signed National Letter-of-Intents on Wednesday.
Braedon Bowman, Jimmie Gipson III, Nigel Green and Demarius Rancifer will all enroll prior to the start of the spring semester and will all have two years of eligibility. Three of the four come from programs that finished in the top 10 of the final NJCAA Top 10 poll including one from JuCo National Champion East Mississippi CC.
Bowman, a 6’4″ 210-pound tight end from Mesa, AZ, was named a first-team All-American as well as a first-team All-Western States Football League and All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference. He helped Scottsdale (AZ) CC to a 10-1 record on the season and ranked 4th in the final NJCAA poll. He recorded team-high totals with 66 receptions for 1,030 yards, 13 touchdowns and 78 points as his team won the WSFL title and the Valley of the Sun Bowl after falling in their first game of the season. Bowman caught a season-best nine passes for 142 yards and matched his reception total in the WSFL championship contest against Mesa (AZ) CC. He also had three other games where he went over 100 yards receiving.
Gipson III, a 6′ 255-pound defensive end/outside linebacker is a native of Coldwater, MS, was also chosen a first-team All-American after leading the NJCAA with 17 sacks and helping EMCC to a national title. They defeated previously top-ranked Georgia Military JC 52-32 in the Mississippi Bowl to finish the season 12-0. He was a first-team All-Region selection as he totaled 65 tackles, 24 of them for a loss. He was named his teams Defensive MVP in the national championship as he tallied eight tackles including four sacks. He was also named the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division Defesnive Line MVP. During his senior season in high school, he helped his team go 15-0 to win the state 6A Championship.
Green, a 6’1″ 160-pound safety, was credited with 83 tackles in two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC as they went 17-4 during those two seasons. They finished ninth in the final NJCAA poll with an 8-2 record after finishing the 2012 season 9-2 an finishing ranked 6th in the final poll. He posted 41 total tackles as a sophomore.
Rancifer, a 6’4″ 205-pound inside linebacker from Pensacola, FL., had a team-high 66 tackles including eight tackles for loss to earn his first All-State South Division. He spent two years at Kentucky, sitting out as a redshirt before playing in 11 games in 2012.
South Alabama finished tied for third in the Sun Belt Conference standings, had 10 student-athletes earning all-conference recognition and head coach Joey Jones was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year.
“As we neared the end of the season, we realized we needed some individuals to replace our outside linebacker/defensive line players,” stated Jones. “We always need to recruit really good guys in the secondary, they are very hard to find, and we needed another tight end because Wes [Saxton] is going to be a senior and we wanted someone to come in and help with two tight-end sets who will also be back the following year.”
The South Alabama men’s basketball team survived a scare from Dillard on Tuesday night at the Mitchell Center.
Midway through the second half the Jags needed a 17-3 run to overcome a one-point deficit and to hold off a late game charge to win 82-73. This win snapped a three-game skid by the Jaguars and put them back above .500 for the season at 6-5.
The Jags saw the NAIA Division I Bleu Devils come back from a six-point deficit at halftime and just would not be put away to give the Jaguars a scare. The Bleu Devils were led by Tyrone Williams who scored 35 points, second most ever in Mitchell Center history, by going 15-of-19 from the floor and 2-of-4 from outside the three point arc.
Rubit led the Jags with 21 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double, but he struggled from the free throw line as he went 3-of-10 from the charity stripe. Rubit is one rebound away from 1,000 for his career, he earned his fifth double-double of the season and the 47th of his career the most among active Division I players.
Junior Mychal Ammons chipped in 17 points and seven rebounds while leading the team in assists with three and also blocking two shots. While sophomore Barrington Stevens III added 13 points as the last of the Jaguars to score in double figures.
USA will travel to North Little Rock, Arkansas on Saturday to take on Arkansas. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm.
Senior Augustine Rubit, coming off of a career performance against #16 ranked Gonzaga on Saturday, was named the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career.
He set a new career high with 35 points with 23 coming in the second half alone. He was 11-for-16 from the floor and made all three of this three-point attempts and was a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line.
His three 3-pointers were also a new personal best as the 35 points ties for the most by a Sun Belt player so far this season. It is his first 30+ point game of the season and the sixth of his career.
He also earned the national player of the week honor from StatSheet.com with his performance against the Bulldogs.
Rubit has been named the Player of the Week more than any other USA player.