South Alabama Sports Weekend Roundup
As National Signing Day approaches on Wednesday, head coach Joey Jones announced that Travis Pearson will be promoted to the defensive coordinator position that was vacated by Kevin Sherrer after he left to take a position at the University of Georgia under defensive coordinator and longtime friend Jeremy Pruitt.
“Travis is a great football coach and a great person,” Jones said. “He was here with us last season and part of a defense I like running, so I think the carryover with his knowledge of our system will be very helpful in maintaining what we’ve done through the next few years. I’m real excited about having him in this role.”
“He’s in the same boat that Kevin Sherrer was in,” Jones continued. “Kevin hadn’t been a defensive coordinator at the collegiate level, he hadn’t “coached” in college, but I knew he was a great football coach. And I know Travis Pearson is a great football coach. The players love him, they have a high level of respect for Coach Pearson and so do I.”
In his first season as part of the USA defensive staff, Pearson helped the Jaguar defense finish second in the Sun Belt Conference in passing yards (224.6 ypg), total defense (384.3 ypg) and scoring defense (25.2 ppg). While coaching the linebackers, he helped Enrique Williams earn second-team all-conference honors after the senior led the team with 105 total tackles, with 7.5 of them being tackles for loss. He also helped Maleki Harris post a career-high 63 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss and seven passes broken up.
The Jags look to improve on their 6-6 overall record and 4-3 record in Sun Belt play last season. They lost five games by seven points or less, four of them came by a total of five points.
Coach Jones has three positions to fill on his staff: a defensive assistant to potentially coach the secondary if Pearson continues his work with the linebackers, a quarterbacks coach to fill Bryant Vincent’s position as he left for the offensive coordinator position at UAB, and a wide receivers coach to fill Jerry Mack’s position who left the staff for a head coaching position at North Carolina Central University.
South Alabama rallied from a deficit of as much as 12 points to take the lead late in the game against Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday. But it was not enough to get the win as the Jags fell 62-58.
Early in the second half, the Jags were down 32-22 before a three-pointer by Ken Williams which was followed by a three-pointer by Augustine Rubit after a Trojan turnover would cut the lead to four points with 16:44 left in the game.
A short time later Antoine Allen and Ken Williams would combine for back-to-back three-pointers cutting the lead to 38-36. A layup by Josh Hagins would seperate the two 3-pointers from another by Antoine Allen that would further cut the Trojan lead to one point at 40-39 with 13:24 left.
USA would take their first lead of the game a short time later when Allen would sink both free throws with 12:51 left in the game.
The Jags would take a 54-51 with 3:18 left in the game on an Antoine Allen layup, but Hagins sparked a 6-0 rally to retake the lead over the Jaguars.
USA was forced to foul late in the game and would get within one-point on a Mychal Ammons dunk with 15.7 left in the game. UALR would make one of two at the free throw line to set up the Jaguars final possession of the game.
A floater by Allen in the lane would only hit the front of the rim, just short of it’s mark. Hagins would add on the final two points of the game with 0.9 seconds left for the final score 62-58.
Antoine Allen and Augustine Rubit both scored 14 points to lead the Jaguars in scoring. Rubit would finish just short of a double-double with nine rebounds. Ken Williams was the only other Jaguar in double figures scoring with 10.
With the loss, the Jags fall to 7-14 overall and 1-7 in conference play. UALR speeps the season series as they improved to 12-10 overall and 7-3 in conference play.
The Jags travel to Atlanta to play Georgia State in a game that was rescheduled from Thursday due to weather.
Currently the Jags are in the basement of the Sun Belt Conference standings at 10th place. The Sun Belt Conference Tournament will feature the top 8 teams, which is still within the Jaguars grasp. Texas State, currently the 8th place team, is 6-15 overall and 2-6 in Conference play. Troy is in 9th place with an overall record of 7-14 and a conference record of 2-7.
The lady Jaguars held on the defeat UALR 61-56 on Saturday. Meghan Dunn scored eight of the final 12 points for the Jaguars to hold on for the win.
Dunn finished with 17 points and her eighth double-figure game of the season. She was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe and 5-of-12 from the floor while also adding four assists.
Breanna Hall led the Jags with 19 points as she finished just two points shy of tying her career high. She has hit double-figures in her last four games and hit 10-of-11 free throws.
The entire team went 22-of-26 from the free throw line.
The Lady Jaguars improved to 7-12 overall and 5-4 in Sun Belt play. UALR fell to 10-10 overall and 5-5 in conference play.
USA will travel to in-state rival Troy on Thursday for a 5:15pm tipoff.