LAS VEGAS – The University of South Alabama men’s basketball team defeated San Diego 68-67 in the opening round of the Las Vegas Classic at the Orleans Arena. With the victory, South Alabama (4-2) advances to the championship game and will take on the winner of the Hawaii/UIC matchup tomorrow.
Charles Manning Jr. and Jay Jay Chandler each scored 21 points to power the Jaguar attack. Lance Thomas and Alex Anderson both chipped in eight points.
San Diego’s Jase Townsend led all scorers with 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting.
Date: 11/25
Place: Orleans Arena
Final Score: South Alabama 68, San Diego 67
Records: South Alabama 4-2, San Diego 3-3
– South made its first three field goals to open the first half and grabbed a 10-5 lead with 14:43 remaining.
– San Diego answered with a 9-0 run to take a 14-10 lead with 12:11 on the clock.
– USA responded with a 7-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back jumpers from Chandler to give the Jags a 17-14 lead.
– The Toreros scored 10 straight points and hit back-to-back treys to retake the lead, 24-17 with 7:33 left in the first half.
– Thomas scored five straight points and Chandler hit a jumper to cut the deficit to six (37-31) with 28 seconds left.
– The Jaguars scored six straight to start the second half to draw within one, 38-37.
– Manning Jr. hit a layup to put South Alabama back out in front, 44-43 with 14:44 to go in the game.
– Both teams alternated buckets over the next nine minutes and a Manning Jr. three-pointer put South Alabama up two, 59-57 with 5:55 remaining.
– Kayo Goncalves hit a three-pointer to give the Jags their biggest lead of the game, 68-62 with 2:02 to go.
– San Diego answered with a 5-0 run to cut the South Alabama lead to one, 68-67 with 38 seconds left in regulation.
– South Alabama got a defensive stop with three seconds remaining and ran out the clock for the victory.
– The Jaguars have won all four meetings in the series with the Toreros.
– South held San Diego to just one made three-pointer in the second half.
– USA has forced 15 or more turnovers in five out of six games this season.
– Chandler and Manning both finished with 21 points. This was the first time South Alabama had two 20-point scorers since Tyreke Locure (22) and Michael Flowers (20) vs. Coastal Carolina on Feb. 5, 2021.
– Chandler has led the team in scoring in four out of six games this season; he also tied a career-high with 5 steals and dished out a season-best four assists.
– Manning Jr. has scored in double figures in five consecutive games and tied a career-high with five assists as well.
– In his first appearance as a Jag, Thomas scored eight points in nine minutes of action, including two three-pointers.

Head Coach Richie Riley
– Opening statement:
“It wasn’t pretty but we found a way to win. Playing such an early game was challenging and San Diego has a really good team. I’m excited that we get the opportunity to play for a championship tomorrow.”

– South Alabama will take on the winner of the Hawaii/UIC game in the championship at 5 p.m. (CST) on Friday.
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