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LSUA excited for Battle at the Beach

Casey Smith
Casey Smith(Cameron Mosely, LSUA Sports Media)
Published: Nov. 21, 2021 at 9:49 PM CST
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Panama City, Fl (LSUA) - LSUA men’s basketball team knows it’s a business trip, but there are worse places to do that than the state of Florida.

LSUA (5-0) heads to the Sunshine State for the Battle at the Beach for a non-conference tournament, beginning on Monday when the Generals play Rust at 12:30 before playing No. 2 Loyola at noon on Tuesday and either Brescia or Science & Arts on Wednesday.

Fans unable to attend the games in the tournament can catch the live stream here https://www.youtube.com/FaulknerSportsNetwork as all the tournament games will be streamed on that site.

The Generals, who haven’t started 6-0 since 2016-17, are coming off a near wire-to-wire victory on the road against Dillard on Friday.

A.J. Rainey, who dropped in a season-high 32 points on 11-of-22 shooting in the win over Dillard, averages 26.8 points per game, which is second in the country. In the win last time out, he buried six from beyond the arc and dished out seven assists.

In four of the five games, Rainey has scored at least 26 points.

LSUA doesn’t win against Dillard without the contributions of Rainey’s back court mate Jakemin Abney, who drilled a massive 3-pointer to put the Generals in front by four with 13 seconds left in the 3-point win.

Abney, a freshman from Simsboro, La., averages 15.4 points per game, which is second on the team. Against North American on Nov. 5, Abney scored a career-high 33 points. He also poured in 24 against Division I mid-major power Stephen F. Austin.

In the Dillard victory, he had 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.

In his first game with the Generals, Nicholls State transfer Anquaevious Pollard scored 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, making all three of his two-point attempts and making a pair of triples.

Like normal, LSUA is a high-scoring unit, averaging 94 points per game, seventh in the land. The Generals are in the top 10 as well in field goals made per game (8th), field goal percentage (8th), free throws made per contest (8th), assists per game (10th) and blocks per game (10th).

Rust (4-3) has won four of its past five after dropping the first two games of the season. It is coming off a 99-55 win over Crowley’s Ridge.

The Bearcats are the only team to beat Tennessee Wesleyan and only fell to Cumberland by one and Cumberland also has lost just once.

They are feisty defensively, as they are 8th nationally in steals per game at nearly 12 per contest. They also are stingy at allowing opponents to shoot from downtown, allowing teams to shoot just 24.3 percent, which is seventh in the NAIA.

Loyola has won all seven games so far, including against LSU-Shreveport and on the road against Xavier. Those two games have been the only ones decided by single digits.

The two teams met last season with the Ramblers coming away with a 101-93 victory at The Fort.

Andrew Fava, who dropped in a game-high 25 points in last year’s meeting, is back. The Florida transfer is third on the team with 12.6 points per game but has scored 40 points in the two biggest wins of the season for the Ramblers.

Seven players average double figures for Loyola, led by Zach Wrightsil’s 15 per contest, while also second on the team at 7.4 rebounds per game. He scored 14 in last year’s contest.

Like Dillard, Loyola dominates the glass, averaging a whopping 19.6 offensive rebounds per game, which is second on the nation. Ahead of Rust in terms of steals per game is Loyola as the Ramblers are second in the nation in that category at 13.0.

Following the trip to Florida, the Generals head back home for a date with Arkansas Baptist on Dec. 3.

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