Tulane’s men’s basketball team might not be the best one for Southern to play right now.
The Green Wave (2-1) have allowed an average of 53 points in winning their past two games, and the Jaguars (1-3) have averaged 43 in losing their past two. The two teams meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Devlin Fieldhouse.
If there’s a bright spot for Southern on offense, it’s that guard Adrian Rodgers is emerging as a scorer after sitting out last season as a transfer from South Carolina Upstate. Rodgers has led the Jaguars in scoring each of the past three games, averaging 15.3 points.
“He sat out last year, so I think he’s still trying to get into the flow of the game and adjust to the game speed,” fellow guard Trelun Banks said. “I think he’s starting to come on and get the feel of the game.”
Through four games, Rodgers, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound junior from Atlanta, is the only Southern scorer averaging in double figures (14.0), though his shooting percentage has room for improvement. He’s making 35.8 percent of his field goals, including 25 percent of his 3-pointers, though he’s shooting 77.8 percent on free throws.
“Adrian is going to be a go-to guy for us,” Jaguars coach Roman Banks said. “He’s a big, strong guard who can get his shot up. We can use him to post people up, and he can step out and shoot. He has free reign, and he’s going to be a primary scorer for us.”
Rodgers said his offense “is still coming along,” but the biggest adjustment for him is on the defensive end because this is his first season playing since the NCAA started enforcing the rule against hand checking more vigorously.
Southern’s offensive problems showed up in a 69-38 loss at Ole Miss on Thursday and a 66-48 loss at Middle Tennessee State on Saturday. On those same nights, Tulane was beating Mississippi Valley State (100-61) and SUNO (89-45).
In those two games, the Green Wave shot 56.2 percent from the floor, making 20-of-41 on 3-pointers. Tulane out-rebounded its opponents 91-45, and its bench scored 105 points.
These teams met a little more than a year ago, and the Green Wave finished the game with an 18-5 run that produced a 79-73 victory in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. The Jaguars had a seven-point lead with six minutes remaining.
Southern was short-handed for that game after learning the night before that guards Cameron Monroe and Yondarius Johnson were unavailable because of insufficient documentation relating to their course work.
Green Wave guard Louis Dabney scored a game-high 24 points, including nine during the finishing run.
“The last several years, we’ve had a down-to-the-wire game with Southern,” Tulane coach Ed Conroy said. “This team has been NCAA tournament worthy the past few years, and we know it will be a battle. Our guys will have to have their best performance of the year to date to be successful.”
The Green Wave have won all seven of the previous meetings, including a 68-65 victory in the most recent game in Devlin two years ago.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and can be heard live on WMTI-FM, 106.1 in the New Orleans area.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.