In the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, No. 8 seed South Alabama torched the No. 9 Arkansas State University from the three-point line in Tuesday's second half to defeat ASU 75-67 at the Mitchell Center in Mobile, Ala.
The Jaguars (16-16), who finished the Sun Belt regular season at 8-10, made 8 of 11 three-pointers and shot 15 for 25 (60 percent) from the field in a 46-point second half.
South Alabama outscored ASU 46-35 in the final 20 minutes.
"Threes," ASU Coach Mike Balado told reporters Tuesday when asked about how South Alabama pulled off such a comeback. "They made 3s. They didn't make them in the first half. They made them in the second half."
Arkansas State, which finished this season at 13-19 overall, was eliminated from the tournament.
The Red Wolves held a 32-29 lead at halftime.
South Alabama redshirt junior forward Josh Ajayi connected on a layup with 12:53 remaining in the second half to give the Jaguars a 44-43 lead -- their first advantage since 11:04 remained in the first half.
Ajayi led all scorers with 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting in 36 minutes. South Alabama guards Kory Holden, a senior who had 20 points, and Herb McGee, a junior, combined for 32 points and made 8 of 15 three-pointers.
In the second half, McGee went 3 for 3 from the three-point line, and Holden made 2 threes on 4 attempts.
South Alabama, which made 11 of its final 15 shots, led by as many as 13 points with 4:38 remaining.
ASU went 14 for 33 in the second half, and missed 10 three-pointers in the final 20 minutes.
"They shot the ball real well," Balado said. "We were late on our rotations and obviously didn't shoot it as well as we could. Hat's off to them."
In his final game at Arkansas State, senior guard Ty Cockfield finished with 21 points on 7-of-19 shooting, including 4 of 12 from three-point range. Senior guard Grantham Gillard added 12 points. Redshirt sophomore guard Christian Willis and sophomore guard Marquis Eaton each scored 10.
"[We've got to] keep our heads up, man," Cockfield said. "That's what it's all about. It's about continuing to get better each year. And this program is headed in a great direction."
GRAMBLING ST. 59, UAPB 52
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was held to 33 percent shooting from the floor Tuesday in a Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal loss to Grambling State at Hobdy Assembly Center in Grambling, La.
The Tigers (17-15) came out hot in the first half, shooting 47.4 percent (9 of 19) from the floor, including 4-of-8 shooting from the three-point line, to build a 36-25 halftime lead. On the other side, the Golden Lions (13-19) were held to 36.3 percent (8 of 22) from the floor while hitting 6 of 12 free throws.
Both sides cooled off in the second half, as UAPB hit 31.3 percent (10 of 32) from the floor in outscoring Grambling State 27-23.
Martaveous McKnight, who was named a first-team All-SWAC performer on Tuesday, and Shaun Doss led the Golden Lions with 11 points each. DeVante Jackson led the Tigers with 12 points, and Ivy Smith added 10.
Sports on 03/13/2019
Print Headline: Jaguars' shooting ends Wolves' year