The Southern men’s basketball team completes a quick road trip out West when it visits Baylor at 7 p.m. Monday in Waco, Texas.
The game comes two days after the Jaguars (3-9) lost at Wyoming 57-39. That game continued a good-news, bad-news trend for Southern.
The good news is the Jaguars have been showing signs of playing the kind of defense that coach Roman Banks emphasizes.
“We’re going to have to be good defensively to win ballgames,” Banks said. “That’s going to be the blueprint of this team.”
The bad news is that offensive shortcomings, especially in the frontcourt, have not been erased — at least not on a consistent basis.
Southern had just 10 points in the paint against the Cowboys, though it allowed just 20, a season-low for Wyoming, and was out-rebounded 34-32. But the Jaguars had just six assists on 16 field goals and made just 3-of-10 3-pointers.
The Jaguars face a difficult challenge against the Bears, who received the 26th-most points in the most recent Associated Press poll. Baylor is 9-1 after a 66-55 victory at home against New Mexico State.
Former Riverside Academy star Rico Gathers had 12 rebounds for his eighth double-figure rebounding game of the season. He also had seven steals, the most by a Baylor player in 11 years.
Banks said the Jaguars, who have just one more non-conference game after Monday, are on schedule for the start of Southwestern Athletic Conference play Jan. 3, but need to continue improving.
“I think going into the first of the year we’ll be coming around a little bit, and everybody will be finding their role,” Banks said. “I think we’re coming.
“We’re going to continue to work. I think one thing that we want to continue to do is when we have the opportunity to score on people, we want to make sure that we finish that. We need to do that in order to be a good team.”
Southern had just one player score in double figures against Wyoming as guard Adrian Rodgers had 12 points. He made 5-of-11 field goals and 2-of-3 3-pointers as a bright spot in an otherwise poor shooting performance.
One of the keys to Southern’s development will be balancing a proven ability to score from the perimeter with an ability to score inside, which is still a work in progress.
FLORIDA 78, SU WOMEN 49: In Gainesville, Florida, behind a stifling defensive effort and a season-high 14 points from January Miller, Florida (7-4) earned a spot in the 24th Annual Gator Holiday Classic championship game by downing Southern on Sunday.
Southern (2-7) was led by Briana Green with 11 points. Southern will face Georgia Southern (2-6) at 11 a.m. Monday.
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