By: Nolan Kotila | Reporter
The South Alabama Jaguars returned to the Mitchell Center for the first time in a month as a part of a double-header that featured the Women’s Basketball team in action against William Carey University. The Jaguars (5-4) took on the Alabama A&M Bulldogs (2-6) in their final game before opening conference play. An explosive offense early and a lockdown physical defense led the jags to an 89-79 win over the Bulldogs.
Josh Ajayi wasted no time scoring 13 of the team’s first 15 points in less than six minutes after a tip-off. He was also 4 for 4 from the free-throw line. Ajayi would finish the game with a team-leading and game-high 24 points.
Freshman KK Curry set new records and even got in on the scoring with a dunk in the first half. Curry scored a career-high 15 points and had six rebounds off the bench. He also contributed to a 10-1 scoring run the Jags near the end of the first half. Seniors Don Coleman and Herb McGee shot threes to start and end that same scoring run, a layup from Coleman would later end the period as the Jags went into half with a 49-27 lead over Alabama A&M.
McGee would go on to set new season-highs for himself; eight rebounds, six assists and a career-high three blocks. That wouldn’t be the last 10-point scoring run by the Jags as early in the second half Chadd Lott and Andre Fox lit up the rim to help boost the team to a 59-29 lead.
The Jags’ domination did not end on the offensive side of the ball. Trhae Mitchell had five of the teams’ 10 blocks in the game. He’s averaging 3.3 blocks a game and is reported to have had multiple in the last 3 matchups for the Jags. Mitchell also had five defensive rebounds, that contributed to the teams 41 total rebounds on the night.
Alabama A&M showed life in the second half as they scored the most second-half points out of any team South has played this year.
Head Coach Richie Riley had this to say about the Bulldogs’ overall performance on the night: “They came out, played hard and that’s something that they do every game.”
The Jaguars set multiple season records as well Tuesday night in time led (39:33) and in points in the paint (58) and tied a season-high 49 points in the first half. The Jags shot 58.9% total field goals, almost setting a new season-high.
When asked about opening up conference play this week right after a strong win at home after being away for a month, Riley had this to say about his team and the matchups coming up:
“There have been high expectations of our team and now we get to see if we can live up to them. We get to start with two really good teams coming into our play this weekend.”
The Jaguars open up conference play against the Appalachian State Mountaineers (6-4) on Thursday at 7 PM in the Mitchell Center.