PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Southern played without two starters, but it mattered little as the Jaguars defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 69-55 on Saturday night in the H.O. Clemmons Arena.
Center D’Adrian Smith missed his fifth straight game because of a sprained ankle and guard Trelun Banks was sidelined because of a sprained ankle he aggravated against Jackson State on Monday.
But Adrian Rodgers scored 15, Jared Sam had 13 points and Rashad Andrews 12. Sam grabbed a game-high eight rebounds as the Jaguars outrebounded the Golden Lions 42-27 to win their third consecutive game.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of rebounding the basketball,” Southern coach Roman Banks said. “I thought we guarded them well, and we played with a whole bunch of energy.”
Southern (11-7, 3-2 Southwestern Athletic Conference) is expected to be without Allen and Banks again when it visits Mississippi Valley State on Monday. UAPB fell to 1-3, 3-15.
Marquis Cunningham led the Golden Lions with 17 points and Thaddeus Handley scored 13.
Golden Lions freshman Charles Jackson, who entered the game tied for the SWAC lead with an average of 3.3 3-pointers made and tied for second in field-goal percentage (59.1), missed all three of his 3-pointers and didn’t attempt any other field goals. He had two points on free throws in 17 minutes.
Southern had a nine-point halftime lead and built it to 13 midway through the second half, but UAPB had a chance to make a move thanks to Jaguars fouls.
The Golden Lions were in the bonus with 13:44 left and the double bonus with 11:27 left. They shot 10 free throws in a span of three minutes, but made just six.
Southern’s lead was down to 46-38 when Sam was called for his third foul with 10 minutes left.
It didn’t matter when Rodgers made consecutive 3-pointers and Andrews follow with another, giving the Jaguars a 55-37 lead with eight minutes left.
“That was huge,” Sam said.
Sam and Tony Nunn, who had nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, took advantage of one-and-one opportunities when the Golden Lions extended their zone to account for Rodgers.
“The shots just came to us and we happened to hit them,” said Rodgers, who was 4-for-13. “You’re going to get some 3-pointers against that zone that they play. We hit them in spurts. In the second half, we got going. I wasn’t hitting for a while, but they were all good looks. I stayed confident and a few dropped late.”
Andrews made his third consecutive start in Allen’s place and LaQuentin Collins started in Banks’ place, finishing with four points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 25 minutes.
All five starters scored as Southern took a 16-7 lead after eight minutes.
Trent Whiting and Cunningham scored two baskets each as the Golden Lions got within 18-15.
Chris Thomas made three free throws and Rodgers scored four points as the Jaguars took a 27-21 lead.
After Jackson made a free throw, Nunn scored three points and Andrews scored from the lane to send Southern into halftime with a 32-23 lead.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.