Jan 16, 2014 11:43 PM by AP
MOBILE, Ala. - Augustine Rubit scored a game-high 21 points, including six in a decisive 10-3 run over the final 1:22 as South Alabama held off a late rally by the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns and earned an 81-73 victory on Thursday at the Mitchell Center.
Ken Williams added 18 points for South Alabama (7-11, 1-4 Sun Belt), which finished 29-for-49 (59.2 percent) from the floor and 8-for-23 from behind the 3-point line. Aakim Saintil chipped in with 15 points for the Jaguars while Antoine Allen had 12.
"We didn't play well in the first half," head coach Bob Marlin said. "We had chances to get back in the second half, but missed some opportunities. Defensively, we turned them (USA) over 26 times, but they shoot 59 percent from the floor. We didn't execute in our offense and that didn't help our transition defense."
South Alabama led by as many as 15 points in the second half before the Ragin' Cajuns (11-6, 2-2 SBC) fought back. After trailing 66-56 on a bucket my Mychal Ammons with 4:02 remaining, the Cajuns went on an 11-3 run to cut the lead to 69-67 with 2:23 left.
Free throws by Elfrid Payton and Xavian Rimmer cut the Jaguar lead to 66-60 and a driving layup by Payton cut the deficit to 66-62 with 3:15 left. Payton added another layup and Steven Wronkoski sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key that got the Cajuns to within 69-67 with 2:23 left.
But Rubit and Allen sparked a final run for South Alabama, scoring on a pair of layups and Rubit added a pair of free throws for a 75-67 lead with 51 seconds remaining.
Saintil sparked a 10-0 run for the Jaguars as he buried a 3-pointer that tied the game at 5-5. The Jaguars, who shot 15-for-25 (60) from the floor in the first half, built a 12-5 lead as Williams added a layup and 3-pointer with 14:40 remaining in the first half.
The Cajuns answered with a 3-pointer by Kevin Brown and a bucket by Elridge Moore that cut the lead to 12-10, but the Jaguars would eventually push their lead to 24-14 on a three-point play by Rubit at the 11:52 mark.
Brown, who scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half, sank a 3-pointer from the left corner that cut the Jaguar lead to 33-30, but the Cajuns went the final 4:37 without a point as Williams hit a pair of free throws, Rubit added a basket and Allen scored on a layup for a 39-30 lead at halftime.
Payton led Louisiana with 18 points while grabbing seven rebounds with six assists. The junior recorded two steals in the contest to increase his career total to 158 and tying him with Johnny Collins for fourth place in school history.
Long recorded a double-double for the Cajuns with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. The Cajuns finished 24-for-62 (38.7 percent) from the floor, 8-for-21 from the free throw line and 17-for-27 from the free throw line.
Louisiana will return to action on Saturday when it visits Troy in a 7:30 p.m. contest at Trojan Arena. The game can be heard on ESPN 1420 AM and Hot 107.9.