Christopher Hyder, Adrian Rodgers and Trelun Banks are Southern’s most reliable offensive players, and they showed why Saturday night.
Hyder orchestrated the offense expertly during his 39 minutes of play, Banks’ scoring helped the Jaguars grab the lead in the second half and Rodgers’ contributions were the key to extending it in a 75-64 victory against Alcorn State in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
“That’s our role,” Banks said. “Those guys are seniors, I’m a junior and we’re all returning starters. Our teammates look for us to make big buckets, and we look for them to do their roles.”
Banks, who finished with 12 points, led an early-second-half surge that put Southern on top for good. Rodgers scored 13 of his 20 points during a five-minute stretch in which the lead expanded from seven points to 13. Hyder finished with 16 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals.
“Rodgers went off for a period of time, and Trelun went off for a period of time,” coach Roman Banks said. “Then once we started scoring inside, it opened things up and Hyder was able to finish it at the foul line.”
The victory was the seventh in a row for Southern (15-7, 7-2) and gave it sole possession of second place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Jaguars visit Grambling next Saturday. The Braves, who entered the game tied with Southern, are 8-12 and 6-3 after having their five-game winning streak snapped.
Jackson State (6-2) stayed even with Southern in the loss column when it won at Mississippi Valley State 77-62.
The Jaguars had more steals (eight) than turnovers (six) and held Alcorn without any fast-break points.
“That was big for us,” coach Banks said. “We knew they like to get out and run and pass it back for the 3-pointer and, if they miss, they can get the follow because their have some good rebounders. So we wanted to get back and make them get into a grind-it-out kind of game.”
Shawn Prudhomme’s layup forged the final tie of the game and started a 9-0 Southern run midway through the second half.
Hyder followed with a layup, Banks fed Rodgers for a dunk and Banks made a 3-pointer that gave the Jaguars a 44-37 lead with 11 minutes left.
Octavius Brown stopped the run with a jumper, but Banks made two free throws and Hyder fed Tony Nunn for a layup and a nine-point lead.
Rodgers made two 3-pointers, and Nunn had a layup as the lead grew to 11.
“It was close, and then our run came,” Rodgers said. “It came at the right time, and then we started getting to the basket and getting some better looks.”
After Tamarcio Wilson made a 3-pointer for Alcorn, Rodgers scored seven straight Jaguars points to push the lead to 63-50 with 3:55 left.
“They kind of wore down,” Hyder said. “Late in the game, they slowed down and we kept going.”
Southern used an 11-2 run at the end of the first half to take a 29-22 halftime lead, and its offense picked up in the second half.
After shooting 37 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent on 3-pointers in the first half, the Jaguars shot 53.3 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent on 3-pointers in the second half.
Reginald Johnson came off the bench to lead the Braves with 14 points. Brown scored 13, Wilson had 12 and Patrick Onwenu had 10.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.