Jags use big second half to defeat ULL 89-85

January 30, 2015 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's, Sun Belt Conference 

Jags_bballThe South Alabama Men’s Basketball team overcame a 10-point halftime deficit by scoring 56 points in the second half to sweep the season series against Louisiana-Lafayette with an 89-85 win Thursday night.

The victory improves the Jaguars record to 7-14 overall and 5-5 in Sun Belt Conference play. ULL drops to 11-10 overall and 5-5 in conference play as well.

Taishaun Johnson had a career night with 23 points, 15 of which came in the second half, as he went 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Ken Williams added 19 points, Barrington Stevens III scored 17 points with a game-high six assists, and Dionte Ferguson scored all of his 16 points in the second half.

USA used a 15-4 run in the second half to take a 58-54 lead with 10:36 left in the game. But ULL would not go away so easy as they went on a 6-2 run to tie the game 60-60.

The Jags would responnd with a 13-4 run to take a 73-64 lead with just under five minutes remaining.

In a stretch of 1:38 seconds, the Jaguars went 6-of-15 from the charity stripe which kept the Cajuns in the game. This allowed the opposition to get with three points in the final 31.4 seconds of the game. However the Jags shugged off the sudden cold streak at the line to make their final five attempts and hold on for the win.

“Overall, we had a solid first half except for our transition defense and rebounding the ball,” head coach Matthew Graves said. “In the locker room we talked about how if we do those two things, we would really like the results in the second half. I thought we did an outstanding job in the second half of fighting through fatigue and a little bit of adversity. Ken [Williams] and Taishaun played with four fouls for a vast majority of that. Adbul got hit in the mouth and his tooth was hurting. Guys came in and played really well. It was a hard-fought victory.

“(UL Lafayette) is a really deep, physical team. I think you can tell by watching the game that their bodies are more physically mature than ours. It’s a great lesson for us moving forward on how much we have to invest and get in the weight room. Overall, I’m really proud of our effort and how we fought all the way to the end.”

“I think they made timely shots,” Graves said of Williams, Stevens and Johnson. “It wasn’t just one guy. It was by committee. They’re understanding how to play off of each other even better. When Taishaun drives, our spacing is getting better. He did a better job tonight of not over dribbling. He has a tendency to do that, obviously. Tonight he didn’t over dribble as much as he normally did, and we got the ball moving side to side more in the second half. We talk about getting the ball to three sides of the floor, and we really did that. It made them guard a little bit longer, and I think they wore down because of it.”

Lafayette’s Shawn Long scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the second half and came away with 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. Kasey Shepherd added 20 points with five 3-pointers and five assists off the bench.

“We couldn’t stop them in the second half,” ULL head coach Bob Marlin said. “We came out and couldn’t defend at the level we should. We are last in the league in defense and our defending was horrible. We didn’t defend, giving them 63 percent.  We didn’t get a whistle, missed a couple free throws, didn’t get a break and still had the ball to be tied.”

The Jaguars travel to Monroe, Louisiana to face the Warhawks on Saturday with a 4pm tipoff.

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