Southern got back on track by sweeping a two-game homestand.
Now the Jaguars’ challenge is to perform better on their second Southwestern Athletic Conference road trip than they did while getting swept on their first.
Southern (10-7, 2-2) visits Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3-14, 1-2) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the H.O. Clemmons Arena.
“(The sweep) gives us a lot of confidence going on the road,” guard Christopher Hyder said. “We’ve got to do this away from home. We know what we’re capable of.”
The Jaguars were 8-5 against a challenging preconference schedule, getting wins at Mississippi State, Wyoming and Southeastern Louisiana. But the trip to Texas Southern and Prairie View to start the new year yielded two uninspired losses.
Starting center D’Adrian Allen has missed the past four games with a sprained ankle. Starting guard Trelun Banks will miss at least Saturday’s game and could be sidelined at Mississippi Valley State on Monday because of a sprained ankle he aggravated against Jackson State this past Monday.
Rashad Andrews has started the past two games in Allen’s place, and the Jaguars held off Jackson State 74-66 even though Banks missed the last 16 minutes.
“That shows we have role players and bench players that can step up,” Andrews said. “We had a chip on our shoulder to bounce back after our first two losses in conference play. We’ve got to keep the same intensity, keep the same work ethic and keep focusing on the next task, the next goal, the next game. This gives us a little edge, a little bit of confidence going back on the road.”
Andrews made both of his first-half shots and scored 10 first-half points against JSU. He finished with 13 points, three rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes.
“He was more confident, and it also helped him that he got going early,” Hyder said of Andrews. “That got his confidence going, and it helped him out later on in the game and he wasn’t nervous or timid. He helped us a lot. He was big.”
Coach Roman Banks said he turned to Andrews as a starter to maintain a spark from Shawn Prudhomme off the bench and because of Andrews’ versatility.
“He’s a guy that I think can help all the way around the table,” Banks said.
Banks said he and the players are getting more comfortable with the new rotation.
“Hopefully we’re getting that same input back from off the bench, which is real important,” he said. “The thing is being consistent. I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder. I want these guys to come back out and play the same way.
“I think we have another rotation. I understand it, they understand it. But we’ve got to have consistency.”
UAPB is coming off its first SWAC victory (59-55 at Alabama State on Monday) and will be playing its SWAC home opener.
Southern won both meetings last season, prevailing by an average of 14 points.
Golden Lions freshman Charles Jackson is tied for the SWAC lead with an average of 3.3 3-pointers made and is tied for second in field-goal percentage (59.1).