South Alabama places a pair of prolonged profitable streaks on the road this week vs. Troy.
The Jaguars (14-5, 4-2 Solar Belt Convention) have gained 4 straight total to maneuver right into a tie for third within the league standings with the Trojans (13-6, 4-2). South Alabama has additionally gained six in a row over its in-state rival relationship to 2018.
South Alabama and Troy play twice this week, first at 7 pm Thursday on the Mitchell Heart in Cell after which at 6 pm Saturday at Trojan Area in Troy. For one week at the very least, it is a related set-up to final season, when COVID-related journey issues compelled Solar Belt groups to play back-to-back video games vs. the identical opponent all through the convention schedule.
“We get to function like soccer for every week, the place we’ve one opponent,” South Alabama coach Richie Riley mentioned. “We simply need to play them twice. It is a problem. … You’ve got obtained a small period of time after Thursday’s sport to make changes, however it’s the identical opponent. It is distinctive that method. It is a rivalry sport. It is going to be an ideal ambiance, right here and there. Final yr in all probability helped us as a result of we did play Friday-Saturday back-to-back all season. So enjoying the identical opponent twice in a single week will not be that new to us.”
Talking of COVID, South Alabama has been on a roll because it returned to full well being following an outbreak of the virus on its roster. The Jaguars swept Georgia State and Georgia Southern in Cell two weeks in the past, then gained at Louisiana and Louisiana-Monroe final week.
The latter two video games noticed the return of level guard Tyrell “Turbo” Jones after lacking greater than two months with a foot damage. The Auburn switch was in a position to take over main ball-handling duties from main scorers Charles Manning and Jay Jay Chandler, who performed a few of their greatest basketball throughout the season of the Louisiana swing.
“Turbo coming again has been instrumental,” Riley mentioned. “We have been in a position to go to Louisiana and get a street sweep in opposition to two good groups. Having him be capable to come on the market as a real level guard makes a giant distinction, offensively and defensively. You take a look at either side of the ball — defensively, his capacity to strain the blokes after which offensively it frees up Charles Manning and Jay Jay Chandler to not need to facilitate and achieve this a lot dealing with. I feel you noticed that in our assist-turnover (ratio) in each video games. … That is a big-time quantity that we have not obtained to shortly. Turbo contributes to that, after which guys simply enjoying extra minutes within the positions they’re used to play.”
Troy is off to its greatest begin in a while below third-year coach Scott Cross, having already exceeded final season’s total win complete of 11 and having equaled its 4 regular-season Solar Belt wins from 2020-21. The Trojans have been in sole possession of first place within the Solar Belt earlier than dropping at Louisiana on Saturday.
Troy has only one participant averaging in double-figures scoring, with junior ahead Efe Odigie main the way in which at 11.3 factors per sport. However the Trojans overwhelm opponents with numbers, with seven gamers averaging greater than 18 minutes per sport, 12 averaging greater than 10 minutes per sport and 14 who play at the very least eight.
“It is the longest scouting report we have had all yr,” Riley mentioned with a chuckle. “They play quite a lot of guys they usually play so laborious. They have a very unselfish group. It is a new man each evening standing out for them as a result of they play so many guys they usually’ve obtained good gamers. Fortunately, we have gotten ourselves again to the place we’ve extra depth, for the primary time in a few years, we will play 10 or 11 guys if we have to. It is going to come up massive this week as a result of they’ve quite a lot of depth they usually’re actually athletic.
“They arrive after you they usually play extremely laborious. We have been comfortably enjoying eight or 9 guys since Turbo got here again, so we do have added depth that we have not had in a very long time.”