By: Michael Hanich and Nolan Kotila | Sports Editor and Reporter
The University of South Alabama faced Spring Hill College Badgers in the Mitchell Center on Tuesday night. The Jaguars bounced back after losing two straight games at home to the Auburn Tigers and then on the road against the Chattanooga Mocs. The Jaguars (3-2) rebound from their two-game skid as they beat the Badgers with a 98-72 score.
Power forward Josh Ajayi’s team-leading 10 points and six rebounds led the Jaguars at the end of the 1st half. He dominated the paint with his tenacious ability to rebound and the extra points in the paint. His night wasn’t over as he would continue to lead the team in both points and rebounds for the rest of the game. Ajayi finished the game with 21 points while making 7-of-his-11 shots in the game didn’t miss a free throw in the second half. He finished by making 7-of-9 at the free-throw line. He would record his second double-double of the year and the 21st of his career.
The Jaguars defense stood out again this game with 7 steals and 6 blocks throughout the game. The arc was not an option for the Badgers in the second half as Jaguar defenders forced the Badgers into the paint. The Badgers made only 16.7% of their shots from behind the three-point arc (1-of-6) due to the lockdown man protection from the Jaguars.
Freshman guard Tyreke Locure got his first start of the game after several great practices since the Jaguars’ two-game losing streak. Locure scored nine points in the first half shooting 2-for-5 in his shots. He would receive more opportunities with the ball in the second half of the game as one of the leading guards. He would finish the game with 20 points by making 50% of his shots (4-for-8) as well as staying efficient from the three-point arc (3-for-7). He would also finish with three rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one block.
Overall, the Jaguars were efficient with their shots as they were 50.7% from field-goal percentage (16-of-30) as well as 43.3% from the three-point percentage (13-of-30). The Jaguars finished the second half with a 49-35 score as they finished the game with a 98-72 victory.
According to a Buffalo Wild Wings promotion, anytime Jaguar Basketball scores 100 points, everyone in attendance receives a free snack-size wing from the Buffalo Wild Wings on Airport the next day. When asked about whether head coach Richie Riley was aware what he had didn’t get the game for 100, coach responded, “I’ve been on the other end of some of those games and I’ve had people do that to me, and that’s just not who we are.”
Coach Riley did offer a direct apology to students saying, “I’m sorry I didn’t get them wings.” He did, however, make a promise, “If they sell out the student section, I’ll buy them as many wings as they can eat.”
The South Alabama Jaguars men’s team will play a regional tournament in the Gulf Coast Showcase. Their first opponent will be against the Northeastern Huskies (3-2) on November 25th in Fort Myers, Florida.