There wasn’t much to celebrate during Southern basketball’s senior night Saturday.
On what should have been a night to honor the Jaguars’ three graduating seniors, players were more focused on the disappointment they just suffered at the hands of Prairie View.
Not only did Southern lose to the Panthers 79-71 on senior night, it watched as its bid at its first undefeated season at home since 2013 vanished.
“We wanted to go undefeated at home and we let it slip out of our hands in the last game,” senior Christopher Hyder said.
“We have to play every night.”
Southern got into a hole early in the night as the Jaguars struggled to maintain possession of the ball.
Before Saturday, the Jaguars led the Southwestern Athletic Conference in turnovers with 11.2 per game and a turnover margin of plus-2.60.
But 10 minutes into the first half, they had committed nine turnovers.
But what sealed the loss was the Panthers going on a 20-3 run in the middle of the second half after the Jaguars tied the game at 42.
Southern failed to put any points on the board for more than five minutes of game time, putting it in a hole that would prove insurmountable.
By the end of the game, Southern had a 36.7 percent shooting clip while the Panthers shot 54.9 percent.
Junior Trelun Banks led the Jaguars with 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting.
“We just weren’t fully locked in today,” Banks said. “It was a lack of focus. We’d have three people on the court fully into it and then another two people that are not into it.
“When you’re playing basketball, all five have to work together like a machine. And when they’re not, when one or two pieces are missing, that messes the puzzle up.”
Southern coach Roman Banks echoed his son’s claim that players lacked focus and drive throughout the game, saying they simply “went through the motions instead of fighting” while Prairie View came out “inspired.”
The loss also puts to rest a bumpy end to the regular season that saw Southern lose three of its last five outings, effectively decimating any momentum the Jaguars hoped to bring into the postseason.
“That’s a concern of mine that every time I put a little pressure on this team, we seem to bend a little bit instead of fighting through it,” Roman Banks said.
“I can take missing some shots, but I just didn’t like the way we competed. We want to be a team that gets down and competes every night, and if you beat us by making tough shots and out working us, than I can live with that.”