Three Former Jaguars To Be Inducted In USA Hall of Fame

July 14, 2015 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Cross Country, Men's, News, Track and Field · Comment 

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The 2015 South Alabama Athletic Hall of Fame class will include three former Jaguars as announced on Monday. The class includes the school’s All-Time winningest Men’s Basketball coach Ronnie Arrow and a pair of track and field members who competed at the NCAA Championships in Olga Mencnarowska and Tonny Okello.

Arrow guided the Jag basketball program the first time from 1988-1995 and then again from 2008-2012 for a total of 12 full seasons plus two partial seasons. He led the Jaguars to a 211-161 record overall and 126-48 in Sun Belt play. In addition to holding the most total and conference wins in school history, he also held the conference record for wins at the time of his retirement.

He was selected SBC Coach of the Year on three occasions. He led the Jaguars to a 23-9 record in 1988-89 following the only NCAA Tournament win in program history, an 86-84 win over Alabama. He led the Jaguars to the tournament again in 2007-2008 when USA received it first-ever at-large berth the NCAA Tournament after winning a school record 26 games which included a 16-2 record in conference play.

Arrow led the program to two SBC regular-season championships, two conference tournament titles and a regular season division title. He had 13 players earn All-Sun Belt honors on 18 occasions.

Mencnarowska lettered for the Jaguar Women’s Track and Field team from 1996-1999 and helped the Jags to win its first-ever league title at the Sun Belt Indoor and Outdoor Championships as a senior. In addition to becoming the first female in USA history to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, she was selected the Outstanding Meet Performing  and earned top-scoring honors at the 1999 SBC Outdoor Championships after winning the heptathlon and long jump, finishing third in javelin and tying for fourth in the 100-meter hurdles before moving on to the national championships in the latter event.

She ended her career with a conference record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.35 seconds, still a school record in the race, and remains among the top 10 in USA history in the heptathlon, 60-meter hurdles, javelin and long jump.

She earned all-conference honors a total of eight times while being selected to the Sun Belt’s 30th Anniversary All-Time Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Teams. She was also voted third-team CoSIDA All-American in 1998.

Okello was a four-time All-American and collected all-region honors each of his three years running cross country. He would also be voted to the SBC 30th Anniversary All-Time Men’s Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Teams. He earned All-American honors in cross country in 2004 and ’05, he also finished 41st at the national meet as a senior, as well as in the 5,000 meters in 2006 and ’07 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Okello earned seven individual SBC titles while earning all-conference recognition a total of 18 times over three seasons. In cross country he won the conference championship his first time at the meet, finishing as the runner-up each of the next two years. He was chosen the most outstanding track performer and top point scorer at the 2005 Sun Belt Indoor Championships after winning the mile, 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs and helping the Jags to the team crown. In addition to receiving the same honor that spring in the SBC Outdoor Championships, he helped USA win a share of the conference indoor title his final season by placing in the top three in the mile, 3,000- and 5,000-meter races.

The induction ceremony for the three inductees is scheduled for September 26 at the Laidlaw Performing Arts Center on campus. The three will also be recognized that day at halftime of the Jaguars football game against North Carolina State at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Win the induction of these three honorees, it will bring the total number of former student-athletes, coaches and administrators in the USA Athletic Hall of Fame to 71.

Sunanon Named To Groza Watch List; USA Men’s Basketball to Face NCSU and LSU in Legends Classic

July 10, 2015 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Football, Men's, NCAA, News · Comment 

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More preseason watch list action this week for the South Alabama Jaguars as Aleem Sunanon was selected to be among the 30 student-athletes selected to the Watch List for the 2015 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award.

Sunanon is the only representative from the Sun Belt Conference on the list.

Over the last two seasons Sunanon has led the Jaguars in scoring. Last season the 5’7″ 170-pound junior was a second-team All-Conference selection by Phil Steele Publications after he went 15-of-18 on field goal attempts, including making his final eight attempts. He also went 24-of-26 on extra point attempts. He tied for 12th nationally after converting 83.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and shared the league lead in the category. He also ranked third in the SBC and 55th in the country with 1.15 field goals per game.

Sunanon recorded a season-best 12 points on two occasions by connecting on three field goals and all three extra points in a win over Georgia State. He tied a school record after going 4-for-4 on field goal attempts against South Carolina.

In 2013 as a redshirt freshman he scored a school season-record 91 points by going 18-of-23 on field goals and 37-of-39 on extra-point attempts and was selected as honorable mention all-conference. He led all Sun Belt kickers in points and field goals per game and ranked among the top 20 nationally in the latter category. He finished second among all players in the conference in scoring average. He hit a season-high three field goals on four occasions, including a school-record 12 in a row over the Jaguars final seven games.

After only two seasons as the Jaguars placekicker, Sunanon has already set a program career record with 33 field goals and stands second on the all-time list with 160 total points and an 80.5 percent success rate on field goal attempts.

The award is named for Lou ‘The Toe’ Groza, an NFL Hall of Fame kicker who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954.

On November 5, semifinalists will be announced. On November 23, three finalists will be announced. The Winner will be announced on December 10 as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

Men’s Basketball

The Jaguar Men’s Basketball team will face North Carolina State and LSU in November as part of the Legends Classic as announced by the Gazelle Group on Thursday.

USA and NC State will face off on November 15 and then LSU on November 19 with times for both games will be announced at a later date.

NC State and LSU are two of four regional hosts for the multi-team event with semifinals and finals set for November 23 and 24 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

This will mark the first meeting between the Jaguars and the NC State Wolfpack on the hardwood, led by former Alabama men’s basketball coach Mark Gottfried who took NCSU to the Sweet 16 of the 2015 NCAA Tournament with a 22-14 record.

The USA vs LSU matchup will mark the third time these two teams have faced off since 2010 and the second in the Maravich Center. The last time the two teams faced each other the Jaguars defeated LSU 79-75 in overtime in 2011.

USA will be one of four teams scheduled to participate in the Legends Classic subregional in Kennesaw, GA including IUPUI, Belmont and host Kennesaw State.

Pete Tolbert Night of Champions Honors Jaguar Student-Athletes

Photo of the Moulton Tower dedication Friday Oct. 8, 2010. | Photo credit Press-Register/Victor Calhoun

Photo credit Press-Register/Victor Calhoun

South Alabama honored student-athletes Monday at the sixth annual Pete Tolbert Night of Champions at the Mitchell Center. The event recognizes the achievements, both in competition and academically, of the nearly 400 individuals who comprise the University of South Alabama athletics program.

Kaitlyn Griffith (Softball from Centre, AL) and Daniel Leitner (Men’s Tennis from Neiderfischbach, Germany) were named the Jaguar Female and Male Student-Athlete of the Year respectively, honoring the most outstanding Jaguars based on scholarship, athletic ability and citizenship.

Griffith, a senior shortstop for the softball team is hitting .296 with a team-high 11 home runs, with 38 RBI, 25 runs scored and helping the team to a 33-9 record thus far and a top-25 national ranking throughout the 2015 season. She is a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athlete and is set to receiver her degree in May in exercise science. She has a 3.82 cumulative GPA.

Leitner, a senior, is the reigning two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in men’s tennis. He earned the award this spring after amassing a 28-5 overall record in singles play and a 22-6 record in doubles play. He was named to the first-team All-SBC in both singles and doubles, and as the highest-rated individual in the conference, will earn a berth to the NCAA Singles Championships in May. He will graduate with a 3.89 GPA in exercise science in May.

A pair of Griffith’s teammates on the Softball team also earned awards.

Farish Beard was chosen at the school’s NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee with Blair Johnson earning the Jimmy Taylor Scholarship.

Beard, who currently has a 3.39 GPA, was selected as the nominee for that goes to a varsity letterwinner completing her intercollegiate eligibility by the end of spring sports season, who has excelled in academics, athletics, service and leadership with a minimum of a cumulative 2.5 GPA. She is also a finalist for both the Senior CLASS and 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year awards. This season she is 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 71 innings.

Johnson earned the award going to a student-athlete who holds a minimum of a 2.5 GPA, has completed their NCAA eligibility and with the assistance of the fund will graduate from USA within two consecutive semesters. She has earned All-SBC honors twice during her career and this year she is batting .254 with 12 extra-base hits, 25 RBI, and 14 walks to only eight strikeouts.

Sophie Haywood from Hull, England, earned the Auralia Crowell Freshman Scholar Athlete Awards given to the most outstanding freshman based on excellence in academics and athletics. She was named First-Team All-Conference after posting 19 points on seven goals and five assists in helping the Jaguar soccer team tow in the conference title and advance to the NCAA Tournament. She has a 4.0 GPA as an exercise science major.

Adam Ballew of the baseball team was awarded the Denny-Gottfried Scholarship Award that is presented to the student-athlete who has exhausted their eligibilty, maintained an outstanding GPA and achieved athletic accomplishment. In his final season at USA, he has helped the Jaguar baseball team to a 29-16 record thus far while batting .275 with five extra-base hits, 26 RBI and eight stolen bases. He is an exercise science major with a 3.38 GPA.

Derek Westbrook from Diamondhead, MS, received a pair of awards. He arned the Shirley Holt Scholarship Award as well as the Male Jaguar Athletic Fund Award. The former is given to a student-athlete who exemplifies outstanding “Team Spirit” and who has shown great character and concern for his or her fellow student-athletes. The latter recognizes overall support of Jaguar Athletics. Both awards exemplifies Derek’s contributions to South Alabama Athletics and also marks the second-consecutive year that he has garnered the JAG Award honors.

Caroline Beebe earned the Female Jaguar Athletic Fund Award. Which marks the second consecutive year that both she has earned the JAF Award as well.

Hunter Colemani was awarded the Tom and Barbara Corcoran Scholar-Athlete Endowed Scholarship Award which is given to a USA Junior who most excels in sports while maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA. The right handed pitcher has a 4.0 GPA in biomedical sciences in the classroom while on the diamond he has a 1-0 record with a 0.59 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 15.1 innings of work.

Jimmie Gipson III was awarded the Wilson Durgin Memorial Scholarship Award which goes to a minority student-athlete who has excelled in both the classroom and competition. Nikki Gittens was awarded the Female Perseverance Award after she suffered a stress fracture in her tibia that forced her to redshirt in 2013, she then returned and ranked third on the volleyball team with 243 kills and led the team with a .250 attack percentage and 83 total blocks while helping the Jags qualify for the SBC tournament despite tendinitis in her knee and hitting shoulder.

Ucambre Williams earned the Male Perseverance Award after undergoing three separate surgical procedures and requiring over six months of rehabilitation. After surgery on his right knee in September he returned in just 15 days and would go on to start 11 consecutive games while posting a team-best 90 percent overall grade and being named to the second-team All-SBC and helped the Jaguars play in its first-ever postseason bowl game.

Brandon Bridge was awarded the Mayer Mitchell Quarterback Endowment Fund Award as the Jaguars starter last fall. Matt Bolger earned the Clifton Inge Endowed Baseball Award. David Knapp earned the Forrest W. and Beverly B. Crowder Endwoed Scholarship for baseball. Mark Watts earned the McKinney Family Endowed Scholarship Fund for Track and Field. Emily Newton earned the George Smith Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund for Track and Field as well.

Assistant Athletic Director for Ticket Operations Greg Keel was selected for the Matt Smith Award which goes to a member of the athletics staff who consistenly goes the extra mile, has the spirit of commitment, a strong work ethic, and a deep sense of pride in their job. The award is named in memory of former USA Sports Information Director Matt Smith who passed away in December of 2004.

Each sport program also presented awards at the event. The winners of those honors were:

  • Eddie Stanky Award (baseball), Bolger
  • Goldie Ungar Heart of Gold Award (men’s basketball), Dionte Ferguson
  • Jaguar Women’s Basketball NCAA Award (women’s basketball), Breanna Hall
  • Female Distance Award (women’s cross country), Nicole Durham
  • Male Distance Award (men’s cross country), Christoph Graf
  • Jim Yance Heart of a Jaguar Award (football), Jesse Kelley
  • Heath Slocum Award (men’s golf), Tyler Klava
  • Beth Barry Award (women’s golf), Ingrid Hagen
  • Lindsay Rogers Award (soccer), Alyssa Mayer
  • Extra Mile Award (softball), Stephanie Pilkington
  • Lubel Family Award (men’s tennis), Leitner
  • Marilyn Lubel Award (women’s tennis), Laura Matuskova
  • Most Outstanding Women’s Track & Field Student-Athlete Award (women’s track and field), Kaitlyn Beans
  • Most Outstanding Men’s Track & Field Student-Athlete Award (men’s track and field), Jan-Louw Kotze
  • Jaguar Volleyball Award (volleyball), Gittens

Prior to the naming of the Jaguar Student-Athletes of the Year, 46 current and former student-athletes who will graduate at the conclusion of the semester received gifts from the department.

Congratulations to all the award winners as well as all of the student-athletes who will earn their degrees. Thank you for representing the University in each of your respective sports with honor and character. Once a Jaguar, always a Jaguar.

Jags Use Strong Defense In Final Minutes To Defeat UALR 57-55; Advance In SBC Tournament

March 13, 2015 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

Jags_bballThe South Alabama Men’s Basketball team used strong defense late in the game to hold off a hard charging Arkansas-Little Rock team in the final minutes of the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament to win 57-55.

The #6 seeded Jags held UALR without a field goal for the final 3:49, then used key stops to hold on for the win.

USA led UALR by as many as 18 points midway through the second half, but saw that lead shrink down to just one point with 28.4 seconds left. But the Jags held strong by forcing a turnover and two missed shots including a desperation shot at the buzzer.

Senior Dionte Ferguson earned his fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds to go with four blocks, including a huge one in the final moments to help preserve the win.

UALR’s Josh Hagins went to the free throw line with 28.4 seconds left and a chance to tie the game, but could only convert one. On the subsequent possession, due to the flagrant foul, USA forced a turnover. Barrington Stevens III also went 1-of-2 from the free throw line but made the Jags lead two points.

Ferguson blocked a shot attempt with four seconds left, then after a timeout following a missed USA field goal, they missed a deperate attempt by Hagins at the buzzer.

Stevens chipped in 14 points in the game. Ken Williams had 12 points all in the second half, with Abdul Lewis and Taishaun Johnson both added eight points each while Lewis added 11 rebounds.

“I’m extremely proud of my team,” head coach Matthew Graves said. “The preparation was really good. I thought we got off to a tremendous start in the first half. We did unbelievable job shrinking the floor; held them to under 30 percent in the first half, and that’s what you have to do. If you want to win at tournament time, you have to really lock in and defend.

“In the second half, I thought we got really tentative around the 12-minute mark. You can say fatigue, all kinds of excuses, but the bottom line is we got tight, missed some shots and turned the ball over a few times. UALR is a very good team. They’re very explosive. They’re capable of making 3s and then they started putting the ball on the floor and getting into the paint and that really bothered us. We were trying to juggle some foul trouble, but the two possessions there late where we dug in defensively and got stops, those were two of the best possessions we’ve had all year long.”

“I’m really proud of this group of guys,” Graves continued. “They hung tough; they battled and it was one of the few times I could say that we got it done on the defensive end of the floor. Usually we score a bunch of points and they’re able to stretch things out, or we score to make a play to win the game, but tonight I can honestly say those couple possessions late defensively, I’m most proud of those two.”

The Jags will face #3 seed Louisiana-Monroe on Friday at 7:30pm. Game coverage will be on 710 AM WNTM in the Mobile area and iHeartRadio. TV coverage will be on ESPN3.com.

Williams, Hall Earn All-SBC Postseason Honors

March 11, 2015 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's, News, Sun Belt Conference, Women's · Comment 

Jags_bballA pair of South Alabama student-athletes were named to the All-Sun Belt teams on Tuesday. Ken Williams and Breanna Hall were both selected to All-Sun Belt Teams.

Ken Williams was voted to the All-SBC Men’s Basketball Second Team, his first all-conference honor in his career. He ranks seventh in the conference in scoring with 15.9 ppg, second in 3-pointers per game with 2.6, eighth in 3-point percentage with a .371 average, and eighth in free-throw percentage with .794. He averaged 18 points and 2.8 3-pointers per game which ranked second and first in the conference respectively.

His current total of 82 triples is seventh best at USA in a single season and a record for a sophomore. He is four points away from becoming the 21st player in school history to score 500 points in a season.

Williams scored 20 or more points 10 times this season, including a stretch of four consecutive with at least 23 points. He also make multiple three-pointers in 24 of his 31 games this season.

The South Alabama Men’s Team will face Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday with tip-off scheduled for 7:30pm in New Orleans. The game will be aired on ESPN3.

Hall was named to the Third-Team All-SBC on Tuesday for her first postseason honor. She earned preseason All-Conference honors earlier this year.

She ended the regular season ranked fifth in the conference in scoring with 15.4 ppg. She accounted for 416 points this season, the first Jaguar to top the 400-point mark since 2008-09 season. Hall led the conference in 3-point shooting with a 40.8% mark and was among the national leaders in that category. Her 2.4 triples per game were second most in the conference this season.

She ranked third in free throw shooting by converting 82% of her attempts.

Jaguar Sports Weekend Update

March 9, 2015 · By · Filed Under Baseball, Basketball, Men's, NCAA, Softball, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

Men’s Basketball

Fresh off of clinching a spot in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in New Orleans, South Alabama Men’s basketball team returned home for Senior Night to host the Troy Trojans. A big scoring night by Ken Williams and Barrington Stevens III led the Jaguars to a 96-93 win at the Mitchell Center.

The Jags finish the regular season with back-to-back wins to improve their record to 11-20 overall and 9-11 in conference play. Troy ends the season with a 10-19 mark overall and a 5-15 mark in conference play.

Troy’s Musa Abdul-Aleem scored 37 points with eight 3-pointers against the Jaguars while Wesley Person added 25 points. But it was the Jaguars offensive surge in about midway through the second half that propelled the Jaguars to victory.

Dionte Ferguson played 36 minutes with 19 points and 14 rebounds for his team-leading fourth double-double of the season. In the second half alone, he had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Williams was a point shy of equally his career high with 28 points and a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe. Stevens III set a new personal record with 19 points and five 3-pointers. Both Williams and Stevens combined to score all five points for the Jags in the final 25 seconds.

With the win, the Jaguars earn the #6 seed in the Sun Belt Tournament and will play Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday night at 7:30pm.

Softball

The #24 ranked Jaguar softball team dropped both games of a Saturday double-header to #7 ranked Lousiana-Lafayette by scores of 3-2 in Game 1 and 9-3 in game 2.

The Jags rally came up short after scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning but could not overcome the one run deficit their next time up in the bottom of the seventh.

Emily Messer led off the inning with an infield single followed by freshman Kristian Foster being hit by a pitch. Kaleigh Todd came on to pinch run for Foster. Messer scored from third on Rathburn’s RBI single and Todd would score on Amanda Minihan’s two-out bases-loaded walk before Amanda Herron popped out to end the threat.

In the bottom of the seventh Messer drew a one-out walk but Todd struck out swinging and Stephanie Pilkington flied out to left field. Messer was 2-for-3 in the game with a run scored while Rathburn was 1-for-3 with an RBI. Devin Brown gave up two earned runs on two hits while striking out three with five walks in 3 2/3 innings. McGill threw 3 1/3 innings of relief and gave up one unearned run on four hits with one strikeout and no walks.

In game two on Saturday the Cajuns scored in all but one inning including a three-run second inning and a two-run seventh inning.

Messer was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Pilkington went 2-for-3 whiel Rathburn went 1-for-3 with two RBI. Brown took the loss in game two as well.

In the third and final game of the series on Sunday, the Jaguars took a 4-3 lead in the third inning then followed up with a three-run fifth inning and an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to defeat the Cajuns 8-5.

Blair Johnson went 2-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI. Pilkington went 1-for-4 with two RBI, Rathburn went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI while Kaitlyn Griffith went 1-for-2 with a run scored and three RBI.

Devin Brown earned the win to run her record to 8-4 on the season with Kalen McGill earning her third save of the season.

The Jags record sits at 16-5 overall and 1-2 in conference play.

Baseball

After falling to UALR in the opening game 4-3 the Jags came back and won the next two games to win the series with scores of 1-0 and 3-2.

In game one Cole Billingsley went 3-for-4 with a run scored and a walk as Kevin Hill went 5 innings and allowing one hit with seven strikeouts and four walks.

In the second game, USA and UALR were scoreless through seven-and-a-half innings before the Jaguars scratched the one and only run across the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Daniel Martinez got the game winning RBI.

In the third and final game of the series, the Jags scored in the bottom of the 11th inning on an error to win the game.

Martinez led off the inning with a single to right field followed by Garrett DeGallier drawing a walk. Pinch hitter Cameron Cummings grounded to shortstop who threw wide of third base trying to get a forced out but instead allowed Martinez to score the game-winning run.

The Jags improve to 11-5 overall and 2-1 in SBC play. UALR falls to 4-7 overall and 1-2 in SBC play.

Jags Earn SBC Tournament Spot with 81-76 Win over Arkansas State

March 6, 2015 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's, News, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

SunBeltLogo_2013The Jaguar men’s basketball team controlled their own post-season destiny as they traveled to Jonesboro, AR. for their Thursday night game against Arkansas State and they held on down the stretch to earn their way in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

The Jags (10-20, 8-11 SBC) saw a 24-point second-half lead slip away in the final minutes but thanks to sophomore Ken Williams leading a late charge, the Jags held on for the 81-76 win.

Over a span of 8:17, the Jags were outscored 29-7 including 15-2 at the end of the run to tie the game at 73-73 with under three minutes left in the game led by Anthony Livingston scoring six of the final 10 points of their run.

Williams answered back with on the next possession with a 3-pointer from the corner to break the tie. After a turnover, Williams added a layup to stretch the Jaguar lead to 78-73 with 2:11 remaining.

ASU (11-17, 6-13 SBC) connected from deep to pull within two with 1:13 left to play, but freshman Taishaun Johnson added a free throw with 38 seconds remaining to extend the lead to three points at 79-76.

Arkansas State’s three-point attempt missed and allowed Williams to grab the rebound. After being fouled, he sank both of his attempts to effectively ice the game.

Williams scored 12 of his 18 points after halftime. Johnson just missed a triple-double with 17 points, nine rebounds and a career-high seven assists. Senior Dionte Ferguson led the team with 20 points while freshman Abdul Lewis added 15 points.

“I can’t begin to say enough about how proud I am of this team and what they’ve accomplished,” South Alabama head coach Matthew Graves said after the game. “They hung tough and made some tough plays in those last couple of minutes to secure the victory.

“This team is starting to grow up. Certainly it’s been frustrating at times, but if you look at us a month or two months ago, we would not have won this game. There’s no question about that. We would have ended up getting beat by six or eight points down the stretch. This team has grown up and they are doing more things consistently. Obviously, we can continue to get better, but I’m really proud of our effort and to have one more home game for our two seniors. We need to be focused and ready to go on Saturday.”

The Jaguars return home to host Troy for their regular season finale on Senior Night. Jags and Trojans tip-off at 4:05PM at the Mitchell Center.

Jags Travel to Arkansas State Needing Win to Secure SBC Tournament Spot

March 5, 2015 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

Jags_bballThe South Alabama men’s basketball team head into the final two games of the regular season needing a win to put themselves into the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

In their first opportunity Thursday night at Arkansas State, the Jags control their own destiny. Win and they are in. However, all is not lost if they lose but it means they don’t control their own destiny. With a loss at ASU, they would need to return home and defeat Troy at the Mitchell Center on Saturday but would need some help in order to make the tournament.

The Jags (9-20, 7-11 SBC) have lost their last three games against the top three teams in the conference. They have had a week to prepare to exact revenge on the Red Wolves )11-16, 6-12 SBC) who defeated USA in overtime at the Mitchell Center on December 30.

The Red Wolves have won two of their last three games after a five-game losing streak. Both wins came at home against conference co-leaders Louisiana-Monroe and Texas-Arlington. Also the Red Wolves sit just one game behind the Jaguars and also need a win to keep their tournament hopes alive.

ASU’s Anthony Livingston is coming off a 20-point, 13-rebound effort against Texas State and averages a double-double per game for the season. Against the Jags in December he had 16 points and 13 rebounds. He ranks sixth in the conference in scoring with a 15.6 point per game average and ranks second in rebounding with an even 10 rebounds per game.

South Alabama’s Ken Williams ranks seventh in the conference in scoring with a 15.4 point per game average and ranks second in 3-pointers per game. In the previous game against ULM, Williams scored 21 points with four 3-pointers. He has also had nine 20-point outings this season. He also moved up to eighth in school history with 77 3-pointers, the most ever by a USA sophomore.

USA and ASU tip-off at 7:30pm tonight in Jonesboro, AR.

South Alabama Sports – Weekend Update

February 23, 2015 · By · Filed Under Baseball, Basketball, Men's, Softball, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

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Baseball

The South Alabama baseball team had a tough weekend in their round-robin tournament by going 0-3 in their three games played.

Friday night USA lost to Maryland 0-8, then to Arkansas Saturday night 0-7 and then to Central Florida 5-7 on Sunday to end the weekend. They will look to get back in the win column on Tuesday in Montgomery against Alabama State.

Softball

The Jaguar softball team finished the weekend 3-1 in four games in the South Alabama Invitational at Jaguar Field.

Tennessee-Chattanooga defeated USA on Friday night 1-3 on left hander Cori Jennings’ who allowed seven hits and four walks. The Jags jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning but left five runners stranded through the final three innings.

The Mocs took control of the game in the top of the fourth inning on Criket Blanco’s two-run shot after a one-out walk put Nicole Osterman on base. In the top of the sixth, Osterman his a solo homer for an insurance run.

Devin Brown took the loss after allowing three runs, all earned, on three hits. She struck out nine with a season-high-tying five walks in 5 1/3 innings. Kalen McGill pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief with one strikeout and one hit.

Emily Messer drew a walk to get on base in the bottom of the first. She advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Chloe Rathburn then singled to drive in Messer.

The Jags threatened in the fifth after Messer drew a one-out walk followed by Amanada Minahan’s single, but a pair of groundouts ended the threat.

On Saturday, the Jags earned run-rule victories in both games they played. USA defeated Ball State 14-6 after a six-run sixth inning.

In the nightcap, the Jags defeated Sam Houston State 8-0 in five innings.

Stephanie Pilkington went 4-of-6 on Saturday with three RBI and three runs scored. Kaitlyn Griffith tied USA records against Ball State after going 3-for-3 with six RBI, three runs scored and a pair of home runs. She added a seventh RBI on the day in the nightcap.

Sophomore Amanda Minahan was 3-of-6 on the day with three runs scored. Amanda Herron had four RBI while Blair Johnson scored three runs.

Freshmen Kalen McGill (4-0) and Devin Brown (5-2) earned the wins on Saturday against the Cardinals and the Bearkats respectively.

On Sunday, USA finished off the weekend tournament with a 5-4 walkoff win against Jacksonville University.

Senior Alyssa Linn lead off the bottom of the ninth inning with a single. She advanced to second on a fielding error. Lowe singled through the left side to score Linn from second base to win the game.

McGill earned the win from the pitchers circle. Pilkington added to her weekend numbers by going 2-of-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Rathburn went 2-of-4 with an RBI and Messer was 1-of-5 with a run scored.

South Alabama (11-3) will face Samford University on Wednesday before departing for Columbia, SC for the 2015 Carolina Classic where the Jags will face Charleston Southern, Tennessee State, Marshall and South Carolina over the weekend.

Men’s Basketball

The Jags could not hold off a late run by Georgia Southern in Stateboro and lost 74-80. A 10-0 run late in the second half turned the game around for the Eagles as they improve to 19-6 overall and 12-4 in SBC play.

South Alabama falls to 9-19 overall and 7-10 in SBC play. The Jags currently are in a tie for sixth place in the conference with Arkansas-Little Rock with Appalachian State one game behind them at 6-10 in SBC play.

Only the top eight teams will participate in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament starting March 12 in New Orleans, LA.

USA has only three more regular season games remaining starting by hosting Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday at the Mitchell Center. ULM is in a three-way tie for first in the conference with a 12-4 record in SBC play.

South Alabama Sports Weekend Preview

February 20, 2015 · By · Filed Under Baseball, Basketball, Men's, Softball, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

newjagsmallPreview of weekend sports for South Alabama athletics. There are plenty of games happening this weekend on campus. Come out and cheer on the Jaguars.

Men’s Basketball

With just four games left in the regular season the Jaguars are sitting in sixth place in the conference standings, which is key as only the top eight are invited to participate in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in New Orleans.

South Alabama (9-18, 7-9 SBC), coming off a 79-51 loss to Georgia State, will face the top two teams and the bottom two teams in the conference standing to finish out the regular season over these next four games. The first opponent is second-place Georgia Southern (18-6, 11-4 SBC) in Stateboro, GA. on Saturday.

Softball

The #22 ranked South Alabama softball team, fresh off of their seventh consecutive win at Nicholls State on Wednesday, will host the 2015 South Alabama Invitational at Jaguar Field this weekend.

The Jags (8-2) will host Chattanooga, Ball State, Sam Houston State and Jacksonville for the weekend. They will face UT-Chatanooga on Friday at 6pm. On Saturday they will face Ball State at 1:30pm then Sam Houston State at 6pm. Then finish out the weekend slate against Jacksonville University at 1:30 on Sunday.

Baseball

The Jags baseball, who are undefeated through their first four games of the season after defeating Auburn 7-4 on Tuesday, will host three top-25 teams over the weekend at Eddie Stanky Field.

The round-robin format tournament will have the Jags, #13 Maryland, #16 Arkansas and #22 Central Florida all play three games in three days.

Arkansas and UCF will start at 2pm on Friday, followed by Maryland and South Alabama at 6:30pm.

On Saturday Maryland will face UCF at 2pm followed by USA and Arkansas at 6:30pm. Maryland and Arkansas will play at 10am on Sunday with USA and UCF starting at 2pm.

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