LORMAN, Miss. — Southern had just lost its third consecutive game and was officially eliminated from the Southwestern Athletic Conference reagular-season championship race.
Coach Roman Banks kept his players in the locker room for an unusually long time, not emerging until more than 30 minutes had passed after a 70-56 loss to Alcorn State on Saturday night in the Davey L. Whitney Complex.
“It’s really disappointing and frustrating right now,” Banks said. “I don’t have the answers right now. We’ve got to find ourselves. I haven’t been in this position before.”
It’s the first time the Jaguars (10-6 in the SWAC and 18-11 overall), who were coming off losses at Alabama State and Alabama A&M, have lost three consecutive conference games in Banks’ five seasons.
Southern lost for the fourth time in its past six games and it’s entrenched in fourth place and on track to be bracketed with first-place Texas Southern, which visits the Jaguars on Thursday, in the conference tournament in a week and a half.
Shawn Prudhomme, who scored 13 points off the bench, said the Jaguars haven’t lost their confidence during the losing streak.
“But we’ve lost something,” he said, “and we’ve got to get it back.”
The good news for the Jaguars is Prairie View follows Texas Southern into the F.G. Clark Activity Center, where Southern has not lost a conference game this season, to close the regular season.
Adrian Rodgers led Southern with 17 points and Christopher Hyder scored 11.
The Braves (12-4 and 14-13) maintained their hold on second place with their sixth win in their last seven games and 13th in their last 15. They avenged a 75-64 loss at Southern four weeks ago by outrebounding the Jaguars (40-32) and outscoring them on second-chance points (14-1), points off turnovers (16-7) and points in the paint (20-10).
Octavious Brown led the Braves balanced offense with 13 points, DeAndre Davis scored 12 and Devonte Hampton had 11. Alcorn led by seven at halftime and built the lead to 15 before Southern scored its first second-half point.
“We didn’t have enough aggressiveness on defense and we didn’t shoot consistently like we normally do,” Prudhomme said.
Rodgers made a layup and hit consecutive 3-pointers to jump-start the Jaguars offense and Hyder’s two free throws cut the deficit to nine.
But Davis and Brown made consecutive 3-pointers as the Braves pushed the lead to 18 with 8½ minutes left.
The closest Southern got the rest of the way was 13 points.
Rodgers and Trelun Banks both made a 3-pointer as Southern led for the first 11½ minutes, but the Braves finished on a 15-8 run to grab a 30-23 halftime lead.
— Follow Les East on Twitter ,@EastAdvocate.