Second half surge leads UNO to double-digit win over South Alabama
NEW ORLEANS – The final 10 minutes of the game featured the nation’s No. 2 defensive team continue to swarm its opposition, with the Privateers limiting the Jaguars to 33.3 percent shooting in the second half en route to a 71-60 victory Wednesday evening at Lakefront Arena.
The win snaps an 11-game losing streak to the University of South Alabama (4-5) and gives the University of New Orleans (4-3) its fourth double-digit win of the season. Scott Plaisance Jr. finished with 13 points, six rebounds and three blocks, the highlight coming with 4:05 remaining as he swatted away a USA drive to the basket and controlled the ball in one swoop.
Ezekiel Charles led the Privateers with 18 points – 15 coming in the second half – and added five rebounds. Jorge Rosa came off the bench with 10 points and three triples.
“Hats off to Richie Riley and his staff; I’m sure he will get it turned around quickly,” said head coach Mark Slessinger. “We had many guys step up in the second half with Scottie playing well, Tyren and Jorge coming off the bench with big baskets and our defense coming up with key stops. I’m pleased with the way we came out in the second half. Now it’s on to Tulsa, but first, our student-athletes have finals as the semester comes to a close.”
The 10-0 run beginning with just over eight minutes remaining gave the Privateers all they needed against the Jaguars, outscoring USA 43-to-26 in the second.
The Jaguars won the tip, but Gerrale Gates swiped Trhae Mitchell, leading to Plaisance Jr. jumper for the first points of the game. A second USA turnover led to a corner triple by the league’s leading long-distance shooter in Charles for a 5-0 UNO lead.
South Alabama took a 16-10 lead on its third triple of the game (13:26), but senior Rosa, who entered the game seconds prior, answered with a trey of his own to cut the early Jaguar lead to three.
The lead was three at the under-12 media following Troy Green’s layup and the held ball by 6-7 Josh Ajayi and 5-6 Lamont Berzat.
In the closing minutes of the first, Green found Damion Rosser for an alley-oop.
At the half, the Jaguars led 34-28. UNO was led by Rosser’s seven points. Plaisance Jr. recorded two blocks and added six points. Rosa came off the bench with six and the Privateers second unit scored 12 of the clubs’ points.
Mitchell led all players with 10 points and he and Ajayi pulled down five first-half rebounds.
The Privateers regained the lead since the opening minutes of the ballgame on Plaisance Jr.’s free throw with 16:27 to go. Charles’ offensive rebound and layup following the second FT extended the lead to three.
The clubs traded points with South Alabama knotting the game at 42-all with 12:08 remaining.
USA took a two-point lead, but Plaisance Jr. and-one tied the game and sent the game to the under-12 media. The old-fashioned three-point play put UNO back in front.
Moments later, Charles forced a turnover and was the recipient of a Rosser pass on the other end for a fast-break layup. The hustle continued with Plaisance Jr. going towards the sideline for an offensive rebound that led to a Zeke triple to make it 50-46 UNO with 9:04 remaining.
The Jaguars tied the game at 50-all, but the momentum went back in New Orleans’ favor on another alley-oop by Rosser, this time from Bryson Robinson, to put the Privateers in the lead 52-50 at the under-eight media.
It began a quick 7-0 UNO with Rosa connecting on a triple and Gates finishing a three-point play, forcing a Jaguar timeout. The lead reached double digits on Rosser’s layup with 6:36 to go to give the sophomore 11 points on the evening.
South Alabama was successful on an and-one but that was it as Robinson followed with a triple to keep it at a 10-point edge for the Blue and Silver.
The defense swarmed, holding the Jaguars scoreless from the 5:33 mark to 1:18 en route to a 12-point cushion.
New Orleans led by as much as 15 and concluded its final game of the 2018 portion of the schedule at Lakefront Arena with a 71-60 win.
The final home game of 2018 will be December 18 at the Alario Center at 7 p.m.
The Privateers prepare for finals before hitting the road to face Tulsa on ESPN3 December 13.
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