GREENWOOD, Miss. — Adrian Rodgers regained his scoring form and led Southern to a 68-56 victory against Mississippi Valley State on Monday at the Leflore County Civic Center.
Rodgers scored a game-high 20 points, making 7-of-17 field goals, 1-of-5 3-pointers and all five of his free throws. In his previous three games, Rodgers, the Jaguars leading scorer with an average of 13.1 points per game, averaged 10.3 points and shot 31 percent from the floor, 27 percent on 3-pointers and 88 percent on free throws.
“I just played the same game,” Rodgers said. “My shot hadn’t been falling, but opportunities had opened up for my teammates. If opportunities are there for other guys I’m going to get the ball to them.”
Southern, which improved to 10-3 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and 13-14 overall, plays the first of three consecutive home games when it hosts Alabama A&M on Saturday. The Delta Devils are 4-9 and 5-22.
Joell Hopkins gave the Jaguars offense some inside balance by scoring 13 points and he grabbed five rebounds. He and frontcourt mates Keith Davis, Jared Sam and Elex Carter combined for 28 points and 24 rebounds.
“Joell was very active,” coach Roman Banks said. “He doesn’t have as much size (6-foot-7) as other guys inside but he’s athletic and he used that to keep the ball alive. It helped that we got some points in the paint (24).”
Tre Lynch scored 12 and though he made just 3-of-10 shots, including 3-of-8 3-pointers, he made consecutive 3-pointers that helped his team extend its lead midway through the second half.
“That was big,” Rodgers said of Lynch’s 3-pointers. “His shot wasn’t falling early, but he stayed with it and in the second half it fell.”
Jeffrey Simmons led Valley with 16 points, Jordan Washington scored 14 and Billy Jackson had 10.
Southern led by one point at halftime before Simmons’ tip-in gave the Delta Devils a brief lead.
Rodgers made a layup and free throw and Trelun Banks hit a 3-pointer to give the Jaguars a 36-30 lead.
Washington made a layup before Davis made a dunk and two free throws. Simmons scored from the lane before Rodgers made a jumper and Davis hit two free throws for a 10-point lead.
Simmons scored eight points as the Delta Devils got within four midway through the half, but Lynch answered with two free throws and Hopkins scored on a tip-in.
Valley got within three after DeAngelo Priar made a 3-pointer, but Banks answered with a jumper. Lynch followed with a pair of 3-pointers that gave the Jaguars an 11-point lead and they led by double figures the rest of the way.
The tip-off was moved from 8 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. because a strong winter storm was approaching. Banks learned of the change at 10 a.m. and had to cut his shoot-around and other pre-game preparation short.
“We have to be ready for anything at all,” Hopkins said. “We love to play that we were excited when the start of the game came closer.”
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.