Jackson State was dominant on the inside and it made the difference in a 62-52 men’s college basketball victory against Southern on Monday night in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The Tigers outscored the Jaguars in the paint (30-12) and second-chance points (21-4) and out-rebounded them 44-26 overall and 21-9 in offensive rebounds.
Southern, playing its second game since starting center Frank Snow was sidelined by hand surgery, lost its other 6-foot-10 player for more than 15 minutes of the first half after his replacement, Keith Davis, committed two early fouls.
“We really got beat, there’s no question about it,” Jaguars coach Roman banks said. “Rebounding has been one of our weaknesses and they really exposed that tonight. That made the difference in the game.
“We should be embarrassed, and we should give the fans their money back. If you get beat on the boards, you shouldn’t get beat by a 2-1 ratio.”
In Davis’ absence, the Tigers enjoyed a 20-10 rebounding edge in taking a one-point halftime lead, but they were just as effective inside when Davis played most of the second half.
Davis finished with two points and two rebounds in 22 minutes, and fellow big man Jared Sam had seven points and four rebounds in 26 minutes.
“We have to crash the boards more,” Sam said. “They got too many second-chance shots.”
Janarius Middleton led the Tigers with 18 points and 10 rebounds, Javeres Brebt scored 14, Kaven Bernard had 13 points and Raeford Worsham had 10.
“We shot the ball extremely well,” JSU coach Wayne Brent said. “Coming into the game, we knew they were one of the top defensive teams in the conference, and they’re tough at their place. Our post players did a great job of pulling their post guys out. Our post players hit some big 3s, and they normally don’t do that.”
Adrian Rodgers led the Jaguars with 15 points, and Trelun Banks scored 10.
The Jaguars (11-4, 8-3 Southwestern Athletic Conference) visit Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday. Jackson State is 6-5 and 8-16.
Southern trailed by one at halftime but grabbed the lead at the outset of the second half as Sam scored five straight points. The Jaguars led 40-36 after Christopher Hyder made a jumper.
“I felt like we were about to make a run,” Sam said. “I thought we’d get the lead up to about 10, but they kept out-rebounding us.”
Southern went cold and JSU heated up. Bernard scored five quick points, Worsham scored on a layup, Dontaveon Robinson hit a jumper and Middleton made a 3-pointer to give the Tigers a 48-40 lead midway through the half.
A driving basket by Tre Lynch ended the run, but Brent’s 3-pointer and Robinson’s layup gave JSU its biggest lead to that point at 53-44.
The Jaguars went nearly six minutes without making a field goal and by the time Rodgers converted a three-point play with 2:26 left, it merely got Southern within 57-49.
“We were not very tough in the trenches tonight,” coach Banks said. “They’re a physical team and it was a physical game and we didn’t show well. It was a bump-and-grind kind of game and that’s one of our weak areas right now.”
The Southern backcourt got off to a fast start as Banks scored seven and Rodgers scored six, helping the Jaguars to a 13-7 lead.
But fouls started to become an issue when Davis went to the bench after committing his second less than five minutes into the game.
Bernard scored six points as the Tigers took their first lead at 14-13.
Lynch and Hyder both made 3-pointers as Southern took a 24-23 lead, but Rodgers joined Davis on the bench after committing his second foul with six minutes left.
Brent made three consecutive 3-pointers to spur a finishing kick that left JSU with a 30-29 lead at halftime.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.