Jags Down ULM 71-56

January 18, 2013 · Filed Under Basketball, Men's · Comment 
Dre Conner finished with 10 assists against ULM. Photo by John Adams | usajaguars.com

Dre Conner finished with 10 assists against ULM. Photo by John Adams | usajaguars.com

The South Alabama Jaguar men’s basketball team used a strong second half showing to notch a 71-56 win over Louisiana-Monroe. This win propelled the Jags into sole possession of second place in the Sun Belt Conference Eastern Division with a 6-3 record, an overall record of 9-8 for the season and evening their home conference record at 2-2 this season. ULM falls to 3-11 overall and 2-6 in Sun Belt play.

Freddie Goldstein nailed a three pointer just before halftime to tie the game a 27 apiece as teams headed into their locker rooms. But the Jags would open the second half with a 13-2 run to take control of the game. THey would make it’s first four shots from the floor after halftime and shoot 62.5 percent from the floor in the second half.

“Obviously (it was a) much better effort in the second half,” interim head coach Jeff Price said. “I’ve just talked so much at halftime, like I do before the games, that we have shooting droughts and we have to find a way to manufacture points. It was a glaring difference in the second half with our defensive intensity. We’re capable of doing that every night if we just get our mind to it.”

Goldstein and Antoine Allen combined for 11 points and two three-pointers to start the second half with the 13-2 run. Goldstein would end the game with five three-pointers.

ULM would work to get within five points on four different occasions in the second half. The final run came at the 7:27 mark. South Alabama would respond with a 9-1 run to put the game away.

Augustine Rubit would score 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and fall one rebound shy of another double-double on the season. This moved Rubit into 11th on the all-time scoring list and 17th in the all-time rebounding list.

“Regardless of the double teams, we keep going at him and that’s what we need to do because he continues to get better at kicking it out and we rotate one over and get shots,” Price explained. “It happened several times in the first half with plus-ones. We just have to get those shots. He’s just a warrior. Aug battles and battles. He gets slapped and hammered and grabbed and just keeps going after it. He had a huge three-point play in the second half where he just builds his way to the basket. He’s just doing a great job and we just need to continue to play off of him.”

Goldstein would finish the game with 16 points, going 5-of-10 from outside the arc. Javier Carter would tie a career high with 10 rebounds.

Dre Conner would lead all player with a personal-best nine assists, which is the most by a Jaguar player since Daon Merritt against FIU on March 1, 2008.

“Dre’s a tough kid and he is playing well for us right now,” Price said. “I continue to preach that the more he plays the better he will get. He had nine assists tonight and I thought he controlled the game well. He’s just going to keep getting better. There’s a lot of concern about a point guard play early, but with point guards it just takes time. I think he is starting to come into his own.”

Mychal Ammons would finish with 10 points, including the final four points of the game that would cap the game off with an exclamation. A slam dunk which was followed shorty by a windmill dunk. ULM would inbounds the ball and let the clock run out after that.

South Alabama will get a week off before returning to the court to host Western Kentucky on Thursday, January 24th in a Sun Belt Conference Eastern Division clash. The game will be televised on ESPN3.com and as part of the ESPN Full Court Package.

Jags Win Double Overtime Thriller In Lafayette

January 11, 2013 · Filed Under Basketball, Men's · Comment 

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The University of South Alabama men’s basketball team survived a double overtime thriller in Lafayette Louisiana to defeat the Ragin’ Cajuns Thursday night. The Jags record improves to 8-7 overall and 5-2 in Sun Belt play while Louisiana-Lafayette’s record drops to 6-12 overall for the season and 2-5 in Sun Belt play.

The Jaguars led by as many as 13 points in the second half but were forced to rally from a late deficit in order to force overtime against the Cajuns.

“It was a hard-fought win on the road,” coach Jeff Price said. “I thought our guys did a great job of being very resilient in what became a tough atmosphere as the game went on. We had our lapses but we drew things up well late in the game and got a great look from Mike in regulation that didn’t go down. With about three minutes to go in regulation things didn’t look real good for us and I thought our guys did a really nice job of fighting back.”

“Mychal had some huge plays—some steals and plays at the basket and that dunk at the end of the game,” Price said. “He just took it strong to the basket and buried it with two hands.”

Mychal Ammons drove the left baseline to throw down a two-handed dunk with 19.3 seconds left to put the Jags ahead 91-89. This gave Ammons his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

But ULL had a shot to win the game at the end. Shawn Long threw up a 3-pointer that went halfway down the basket before bouncing out as time expired to leave the Jags with the win.

Augustine Rubit had 26 points for the game, 21 of them after halftime, and nine rebounds lead the Jags in scoring and falling one short of extending his double-double streak.  However Rubit did take over second place on the South Alabama all-time rebounding list. Dre Conner added 19 points in the game, 15 of them in the first half, before fouling out of the game for the first time this season. Antoine Allen added 19 points as well.

“I thought Aug did a really nice job late of understanding he had two or three guys on him and kicking the ball out. We just have to knock those shots down, regardless of who’s shooting them,” Price noted. “Aug just affects the game so much when you go in to him and he continues to get better at understanding he can make other guys better.”

ULL’s Elfrid Payton matched Rubit in scoring with 26 points with 22 of them coming after halftime. He also recorded seven assists and three steals. Bryant Mbamalu added 19 points, Long had 14 points and 14 rebounds in the game.

The Jags never trailed in the final period. Rubit and Allen combined for seven points to put the Jags up 89-84 early in the period. But ULL would resond with four unanswered points with Payton’s back-to-back layups. A period of almost two minutes would pass without either team scoring any points before Long hit the back end of two free throws to tie the game at 89 with 37.5 seconds left in the period. Ammons would get a two-handed slam with 19.3 seconds left for the final score.

In the second half of regulation, the Jags trailed by six points with 2:51 left in regulation after a three-pointer by Mbamalu. But Freddie Goldstein would answer with a three of his own on the subsequent possession to cut the lead in half. After a ULL free throw, Goldstein would nail another three with 1:42 left in regulation to pull the Jags within one point.

Both teams would trade free throws. Ammons would give the Jags a 74-73 lead with 34.3 seconds after a steal and a layup. ULL’s Payton would hit a free throw at the other end to tie the game. Ammons would miss a shot from the right baseline in the final seconds to send the game into overtime.

“If there’s a guy you want shooting them, it’s him,” Price said about Goldstein shooting three’s. “He’s an experienced senior and he jumped up and made a couple.”

In the first overtime neither team would lead by more than two points. Allen would tie the game at 82 with 44.4 seconds remaining in the period which would send the game into the second overtime period.

The Jags will continue their two-game road swing at North Texas on Saturday. The Jags and the Mean Green are scheduled to tipoff at 7pm.