Southern men look to bounce back from difficult loss in home matchup Saturday with Arkansas-Pine Bluff _lowres

Advocate Staff Photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Southern's Jared Sam secures a rebound late in the second half between Grambling defenders Deonte Hearns, left, and Mark Gray on Saturday at the F.G. Clark Activity center.

The previous time the Southern men’s basketball team played after a loss, it started an eight-game winning streak.

The Jaguars hope to have similar success when they play Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

A last-second, 81-80 loss at Jackson State on Monday night ended that eight-game winning streak and was the most difficult setback of the season for Southern.

The decisive play came when Chace Franklin banked in a 3-pointer from beyond the top of key with less than a second left, but coach Roman Banks said the outcome shouldn’t have been hanging in the balance at that point.

The Jaguars (16-8, 8-3 SWAC) lost a 16-point halftime lead and couldn’t regain command because they slowed offensively, missed free throws and couldn’t keep the Tigers off the offensive boards.

After scoring 50 points in the first half, Southern scored 30 in the second half. Senior guard Adrian Rodgers scored 25 in the first half — and one in the second.

Rodgers’ effort came on the heels of a career-high 30-point game against Grambling, meaning Rodgers, who leads the Southwestern Athletic Conference in scoring (17.8 points per game in conference play), scored 55 points in a game and a half.

Banks said the coaching staff and Rodgers’ teammates have to do a better job of responding to opponents’ determination to contain him.

Despite Rodgers’ and Southern’s offensive difficulties in the second half, he made a play that nearly salvaged the game for the Jaguars.

After Jackson State had taken a two-point lead with half a minute to play, Rodgers drove to the basket and saw the Tigers’ interior defense slide toward him. He passed to Jared Sam, who made a layup and converted a three-point play after being fouled.

“He made a great assist to Jared,” Banks said. “Those are the things he probably should have been doing more in the second half. He should be moving the basketball a little bit and jumping and cutting instead of just taking a shot over two or three people.”

Rodgers took just five shots in the second half after making 9 of 11 in the first half.

“I shoot it the same way (each time),” Rodgers said. “If it doesn’t go in, it doesn’t go in. If it feels good coming out of my hand, that’s how I judge my shots.”

Rodgers missed an opportunity to give the Jaguars a three-point lead ahead of Franklin’s 3-pointer, but he made just 1-of-2 free throws with 7.3 seconds left. Southern made just 2 of 7 free throws after taking a 10-point lead with 4½ minutes remaining.

“These guys have been making more than they’ve been missing,” Banks said of the free-throw shooting, “so I’ve got to be confident that we’ll get it together for down the stretch.”

Southern is second in the SWAC in free-throw percentage (70.2).

Despite the loss, the Jaguars had their highest point total in a SWAC game this season for the second consecutive game. They have scored more than 70 points in five straight games after doing so just once in their first six conference games.

Rodgers has made the most 3-pointers in SWAC play (28), and he’s fifth in 3-point percentage (38.9).

The Jaguars beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-7, 6-19) 69-55 on the road Jan. 16.