MOBILE, Ala. — WKU could not overcome a late scoring run by South Alabama and dropped its fifth-straight road game Thursday night in Mobile, 65-57. The Hilltoppers are now 11-10 overall and 5-5 in the Sun Belt Conference after the defeat, and South Alabama improves to 10-8 overall and 7-3 in the league.
WKU was led by Brandon Harris' 14 points and seven rebounds, and T.J. Price contributed 13 points. George Fant had 10 and six rebounds in 25 minutes. Augustine Rubit had 19 points and 11 rebounds to pace South Alabama, and Antoine Allen also had 19 points after burying three three-pointers and eight free throws.
The first half featured five ties and two lead changes, and South Alabama led WKU 28-23 at the break. Price led WKU with seven points on a couple of three-pointers, and Teeng Akol had six points and five rebounds in nine minutes off the bench. Rubit and Allen each had eight to lead the Jaguars.
WKU trailed 25-15 before rattling off six-straight points to come within four points on a free throw and three-pointer by Price, and the Hilltoppers limited South Alabama to just three points in the final 5:43 of the half and nothing for the final 3:24.
Each team had 12 turnovers in the opening 20:00, and WKU had 10 second-chance points after seven offensive rebounds and 16 total. The Hilltoppers shot 37.0 percent as a team in the first half (10-for-27), and South Alabama converted at a 42.9 percent clip (9-for-21).
The first 8:00 of the second half included four more ties and two lead changes, and the game was tied at 37 with 8:05 gone by in the final half. However, South Alabama outscored WKU 14-5 over the next 4:00 to lead 51-42 with 7:57 to play.
WKU got within seven points at 54-47 a few minutes later, but the Jaguars kept the Hilltoppers at arm's length most of the rest of the way. WKU cut the deficit to six at 60-54 on a Harris three-pointer with 53 seconds left and five after three Harris free throws with 38 seconds showing on the clock, but South Alabama made free throws down the stretch to seal the 65-57 victory.
The Hilltoppers shot 36.8 percent from the field in the game (21-for-57) and hit six of 21 three-point tries (.286). South Alabama converted at a 40.4 percent clip (19-for-47) and went 22-for-32 from the free throw line (.688).
The Jaguars now lead the all-time series with WKU, 33-29.