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Privateers Erase Double Digit Deficit, Halfcourt Heave Just Short as Time Expired in 55-52 Setback

Courtesy of UNO Athletics

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MOBILE, Ala. – The Privateer basketball team came out of the half connecting on all facets, jumping out to an 18-3 run en route to erasing a 13-point deficit to take an eight-point lead with 10:16 remaining. A Jaguars three-pointer with 20 ticks to go allowed the University of South Alabama (4-3) to regain the lead and the half-court shot as time expired was just short, clinching the 55-52 victory for USA over the University of New Orleans (1-4) Sunday afternoon at Mitchell Center.

Travin Thibodeaux led the club with 14 points; Michael Zeno posted five points, five assists and 10 rebounds and off the bench; Troy Green added 11 points and six rebounds and Bryson Robinson finished with 10 points and two assists. Lamont Berzat provided a spark when he checked in, adding four points, five assists and two steals.

FIRST HALF

New Orleans remained within striking distance despite nine turnovers midway through the stanza. The defense held South Alabama to 29 percent, shooting in that span, and trailed by just one. Thibodeaux led the club with five points and Zeno picked up five rebounds. Thibodeaux’s sixth point — a free throw — knotted the game at 13 before the third media timeout of the ballgame.

The game was tied at 15-all at the under-eight media but on the other end of the break, USA went on a 9-0 run to regain the lead. The run ended on a Thibodeaux layup at the 4:40 marker.

The Jaguars’ lead was condensed to five on the second-chance bucket by Robinson, off the dish from Zeno, who picked up his sixth rebound and second offensive board.

Thibodeaux led the club with eight points in the first, followed by Puou’s six and Robinson’s five. Zeno led all players with seven rebounds and four assists, but UNO trailed 34-23 at the half.

SECOND HALF

Berzat sparked the second-half surge, with UNO forcing five turnovers in the first five minutes and outscoring South Alabama 11-1 heading into the under-16 media. The Privateers’ 7-0 run before the break made it a one-point ballgame as USA looked for its first field goal of the second.

After the intermission, Berzat found Green in the paint as the freshman showcased his post game, giving New Orleans its first lead of the game with 15:05 left. Moments later, Berzat found Thibodeaux to extend the UNO lead to three and the run to 11-0.

The Jaguars dunked their first FG of the half with 13:26 remaining but Zeno responded with an and-one, making it a two-possession contest.

The run was officially 14-2 and in the frame, 18-to-3 in favor of UNO. South Alabama went 1-of-7 from the field and the Blue and Silver picked up two steals and a blocked shot.

Thibodeaux took charge and scored four straight, giving the Privateers an eight-point cushion.

The 9-0 Jaguars run midway through the half allowed South Alabama to regain the lead with 8:12 to go.

The defensive adjustment by USA’s to-go zone held UNO scoreless for over four minutes, and South Alabama was also struggling offensively, but held on to the one-point lead until Berzat found Green on the wing for a triple with 4:11 remaining to put the Privateers back in front, 48-46.

Moments later, Zeno picked the pocket and Berzat hit a transition jumper to extend it back to four with just under 4:00 left to play.

The Jaguars scored five, unanswered, to go up 51-50 with 2:02 remaining.

The shortest guy on the floor came up with the biggest steal of the game and found a trailing Zeno, who hit Robinson for the dunk to make it 52-51 UNO with 56 ticks to go.

Rodrick Sikes’ third triple of the game with 20 seconds left gave the Jaguars the lead, and the half-court shot at the buzzer was just short as South Alabama took the Sunday afternoon tilt 55-52.

 

Next up, the Privateers head to the University of Houston Wednesday at 7 p.m. at H&PE Arena. The game will be streamed on FloHoops.com.

Zeno’s five assists are a new career-high for the four-year member of the club. Green tied his season-high of 11 points and pulled down a new high of six boards. Zeno’s 10 rebounds were one shy of tying his career-high. Robinson’s 10 points mark the first time the sophomore reaches double figures. Berzat played in a season-high 22 minutes and picked up season-highs of four points, two rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Fans are encouraged to follow @UNOPrivateers on Twitter, @UNOPrivateers on Instagram, like /UNOPrivateers on Facebook and subscribe to the PrivateerAthletics YouTube channel.

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Privateers Erase Double Digit Deficit, Halfcourt Heave Just Short as Time Expired in 55-52 Setback