Wendell Carter Jr., Jared Sam

Duke's Wendell Carter Jr. (34) defends against Southern's Jared Sam (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) ORG XMIT: NCGB103

Gerry Broome

The trip wasn't easy for Southern's men's basketball team.

The Jaguars return to Baton Rouge without a win after a season-opening, five-game road trip against Illinois, Marshall, Missouri State, top-ranked Duke and North Carolina Central, which defeated the Jaguars 80-67 on Sunday.

Beginning a season with five consecutive road games in a span of nine days isn't easy," Southern coach Morris Scott said.

"It's a tough road swing," the first-year coach said. "It's always tough when you start the season off on the road for your first five games, but we're just trying to find a way to keep pushing through. Hopefully, we'll knock that door down eventually."

Southern will have a crack to claim its first win Wednesday, when the Jaguars host Tennessee-Martin at 7 p.m. inside Baton Rouge's F.G. Clark Activity Center.

The Jaguars allowed more than 78 points in each game and did not score more than 74 against the schools from some of the country's premier conferences.

Scott said the main goal for the Jaguars going forward is to find reliable players — other than forward Jared Sam, who was selected to the preseason first-team All-Southwestern Conference team in October — to provide Southern's undersized crew with a winning chance.

Sam had some help on Sunday. Guards Jamar Sandifer and Eddie Reese added 29 combined points to Sam's 12 against North Carolina Central.

Reese has scored in double figures for three of Southern's first five games, providing the Jaguars with much-needed backcourt production.

"Yeah, he's playing well for us right now," Scott said. "But there's just some things he's got to get over as well. He's one of the guys, probably right after Jared, he's probably one of those guys we count on to be a consistent scorer as well."

Southern is shooting 34.4 percent from the field through fives games and is allowing its opponents to shoot 47.2 percent.

"We're struggling with finding guys that can night-in and night-out give us some consistent production besides, pretty much, Sam," Scott said. "(He's) the one that's given us pretty much the most consistent production right now.

"Just trying to find that rotation and keep some positive energy going."