MOBILE, Ala. – Augustine Rubit delivered 23 points and 19 rebounds in leading the South Alabama basketball team (5-5) to a 74-69 win over Texas A&M – Corpus Christi on Sunday at the Mitchell Center. Brandon Pye had a career-high 17 points and Johnathan Jordan added 17 of his own for the Islanders (1-6) in a losing effort.
Joy Williamson and Will Nelson each added 12 points for the Islanders, with Nelson leading the team with eight rebounds. Zane Knowles and Nate Maxey each had three blocks, while Pye added a career-best four steals. The Islanders (43.6) outshot the Jaguars (42.4) in the game, but were outscored by seven points at the free-throw line.
Along with Rubit's 23, the Jaguars got 16 points from Xavier Roberson, who shot 7-for-11 from the field. Viktor Juricek also stepped up for USA, hitting a pair of threes en route to 10 points. The Jaguars were fierce on the glass with 17 offensive boards, winning the rebound battle 45-29.
Early on in the contest, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi was ice cold from the floor, starting 1-for-8 and committing nine turnovers in the first 8:20 of action. Meanwhile, Rubit was red hot for South Alabama, as he scored 10 of the first 19 USA points to lead the home squad to a 19-5 lead at the 12:01 mark. But Nelson lifted the team's offense at that point, scoring the game's next eight points to cut the lead to 19-13. The Islanders continued the rally behind Pye's three and a bucket from Williamson to get the lead to just three at 21-18.
At that point, the Jaguars responded with a run of their own after a timeout. Roberson got it started with back-to-back buckets, and South Alabama went on a quick-strike 11-0 run to push the lead back to double digits. The Islanders rallied to cut it to eight with six straight points, but USA scored five of the half's final seven points to head to the locker room up 37-26.
Out of the break, neither team was clicking on the offensive end, with the Islanders starting 1-for-4 and South Alabama opening 1-for-9. But A&M – Corpus Christi continued to chip away at the deficit, getting as close as six at 44-38 with 11:31 to play in the half. After the two teams traded threes, Rubit scored the game's next 4 points to push the advantage to 51-41.
From then on, it was back-and-forth, with the Jaguars maintaining the lead between 10 and 12 points. The Islanders got as close as seven points at 65-58 after a Hameed Ali jumper with 2:10 to play, but the Jaguars were able to keep the Islanders at bay until the closing minute, up 69-60. The Islanders were successful in fouling and getting points at the offensive end, cutting the lead to as little as five, but the clock ran out on the comeback as the Islanders fell 74-69.
The Islanders will now travel to College Station for a matchup with Texas A&M on Tuesday, Dec. 18. The game will be carried live on Fox Sports Southwest as well as on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX with Yannis Koutroupis on the call. Game time is slated for 6 p.m., with the pregame show set to start at 5:45.