South Alabama basketball travels to Auburn hunting to spring upset

South Alabama arrived as shut to an upset of Auburn as probable a season in the past, but a great deal has modified in a year’s time.

Isaac Okoro’s putback in the ultimate seconds gave the Tigers a 70-69 victory above the Jaguars in Mobile on Nov. 12, 2019. That activity was performed in advance of a packed property of more than 10,000 at the Mitchell Middle.

The Jaguars (3-1) and Tigers (1-2) meet up with yet again at 8 p.m. Friday in Auburn, but there will not be a capability group at Auburn Arena for a video game televised by SEC Network. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only drastically decreased fan participation, but also stored equally teams from finding in a whole pre-season routine of intra-squad online games.

“They’ve got a good deal of new faces,” South Alabama mentor Richie Riley stated. “They’re amazingly athletic and seriously gifted. … They’ll be enjoying their very best basketball as soon as they get into conference enjoy, just like us. But they are definitely very good. (J.T.) Thor has a opportunity to be a professional. They do not have all those men that have been there a extensive time — Anfernee McLemore, Austin Wiley, Danjel Purifoy, but they’ve got men that are in the exact same mildew.

“They’re a higher-important team. The major difference in between mid-significant and substantial-main teams is the dimension, and the athleticism. And they have a complete crew of both. We have acquired to do a excellent work of valuing the ball, simply because they are likely to force us. We really don’t will need to give the ball to them and give them simple alternatives, and also give ourselves prospects to make shots.”

Auburn, which attained the Last 4 in 2019 and was 25-6 and NCAA event-bound when the pandemic halted the season previous March, has shed two of its initial three this period. With 5-star freshman level guard Sharife Cooper sidelined thanks to eligibility concerns, the Tigers conquer St. Joseph’s 96-91 in additional time in their opener, but have due to the fact misplaced 90-67 to No. 1 Gonzaga and 63-55 at UCF.

Level guard Michael Flowers, a transfer from Western Michigan, qualified prospects the South Alabama team in scoring at 20.3 details for each match. Sophomore guard Tyreke Locure is averaging 11.5 details and 7.8 rebounds for every game for the Jaguars, whilst 6-foot-8 graduate transfer Kayo Gonçalves is putting up 12.3 details and 6.3 rebounds per outing.

South Alabama has been wracked by injuries significantly of the tumble, with sophomore forward KK Curry and junior-college transfer David Walker “still hoping to get their legs less than them” and freshman forward Zondrick Garrett out with a sprained ankle. Forward Sam Iorio — a transfer from American University — has not performed the final two game titles soon after having a really hard drop early in a win in excess of Cell during final weekend’s Goldie and Herman Ungar Vintage in Cell.

“We’re hoping that he can get out there and continue to be there,” Riley explained. “He’s like our quarterback. Mike Flowers is our level guard, and he helps make us go, but we participate in by way of Iorio a lot. He just does so a great deal for us. It killed us not owning him in the a person sport we missing.”

“… We’re just combating every single working day. But there are no excuses. We’re satisfied to enjoy. We simply cannot wait around to get out there and compete.”

South Alabama gained two of 3 video games in the Ungar Basic, beating Florida Atlantic 68-66 on Flowers’ very last-second 3-tips, then topping Mobile 95-75 even with Iorio’s early exit. The Jaguars then misplaced to Jacksonville State 77-73 before bouncing again to rout Division II opponent Emmanuel (Ga.) 86-47 this earlier Tuesday.