South Alabama hits road to challenge No. 20 Gonzaga

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Updated: 12/14/2013 8:25 am

Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - The South Alabama Jaguars have made the trek to the Pacific Northwest to tangle with the 20th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Battle for Seattle at Key Arena.

South Alabama currently sits one game over .500 at 5-4, but the team has dropped two of its last three, the most recent being a 96-93 triple-overtime thriller at Rice last Saturday. The Jaguars have yet to win in enemy territory, losing all three of their true road games thus far. USA returns home following this contest to host Dillard, then will face Arkansas and New Mexico State before finally opening Sun Belt Conference play versus Western Kentucky on Jan. 2, 2014.

Gonzaga sports an impressive 9-1 record through the first month of the season, with the team's lone loss coming in the Maui Invitational to Dayton (84-79). The Bulldogs have rebounded to win five game since, the most recent of which being an 80-76 decision at West Virginia this past Tuesday. That was the first victory for the Zags this season that didn't come by double figures, and the team returns to the Evergreen State where it is has won six times this season (all at home in Spokane).

Gonzaga is 2-0 in the all-time series with South Alabama, although it's been 15 years since the team last met (Dec. 5, 1998), and both wins have been by identical 17-point margins.

South Alabama is shooting nearly as well from 3-point range (.389) as it is from the field overall (.411), and the team rides a pair of double-digit scorers to its average of 75.3 ppg, as Augustine Rubit (16.7 ppg, 10.0 rpg) and Antoine Allen (10.1 ppg) have both been consistent contributors. Mychal Ammons is close to joining the ranks, and is averaging a near double-double as well with his 9.8 points and 8.7 caroms per contest. All three are shooting at least 42 percent from beyond the arc. Defensively, the Jaguars yield 65.8 ppg behind typical shooting outputs of .394 overall and .270 from downtown, and they own favorable margins both in rebounding (+4.1) and turnovers (+0.6). Allen drained 6-of-12 3-point attempts to finish with 26 points in the triple- overtime loss at Rice, while Rubit (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Ammons (16 points, 14 boards) both logged double-doubles. USA fought back from a 17-point deficit in the second half to send the game to its thrilling conclusion, but shot just 37.7 percent from the field, doing better from long range (17-of-37, .459).

Gonzaga is lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 89.4 ppg, doing so behind outstanding shooting percentages of .538 overall and .464 from beyond the arc. The team boasts four double-digit scorers in the form of Kevin Pangos (19.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.3 apg), Sam Dower (14.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Gary Bell, Jr. (13.9 ppg, 2.1 apg) and Gerard Coleman (10.3 ppg), the last of whom does his damage coming off the bench. Przemek Karnowski (9.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg) has been productive as well from his center position. From a defensive standpoint, the Bulldogs are permitting 71.9 ppg, with foes hitting 41.3 percent of their total shots, which includes just a 31.2 percent showing from 3-point land. The Zags are +5.2 in rebounding differential, and they're coming off a win at West Virginia that saw them shoot 44.3 percent from the floor, hitting seven treys, and posting a 43-36 edge on the glass. Karnowski put forth another impressive effort as he scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Pangos nailed four triples on his way to 18 points, and Bell, Jr. finished with a line of 15 points and nine boards. WVU was held to just 37.3 percent field goal efficiency.

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