Rubit Sets New SBC Rebounding Record As Jags Fall To New Mexico State
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.