It’s one thing for Southern to keep coach Morris Scott stressed on his birthday.
It’s another thing to stress Scott’s wife, Jennifer.
The Jaguars tangled themselves in yet another punch-for-punch Southwestern Athletic Conference bout in Saturday’s 69-68 loss at Grambling, which ended Southern’s four-game winning streak.
Saturday was Southern’s sixth contest out of the past seven to be settled either in overtime or by four points or fewer.
With their third child and second son due “any day now,” Scott said, the stress has started to boil over.
“I tell these guys all the time, I guess they like to see all this gray hair that’s coming up on my face and on my head,” Scott said. “My wife even said last night, of course she’s due any minute, but she said, 'These guys must want this baby to come out tonight. So they’ve got her stress level up as well.' ”
“You must’ve wanted to have this kid on your birthday,” Jennifer told Morris, whose birthday was Saturday.
“It’s quite the birthday week,” the soon-to-be father of three added. “But hopefully we can get a win to cap it off the right way.”
Southern’s coach has preached about the importance of splitting the SWAC’s two-game road trips. With a loss Saturday, Southern (9-14, 5-5 SWAC) needs a win in Monday’s 8 p.m. game at Jackson State, the only SWAC team to defeat the Jagaurs in Baton Rouge this season, to earn that split.
Revenge would make it sweeter, too.
“I told the guys, we definitely need to find a way to get the team that gave us our only home loss," Scott said. "Hopefully we can go on the road and actually come away with one. It would definitely be a good one for us to get.”
The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU, the fourth time Southern has been on national TV this season.
Southern forwards Sidney Umude, the Jaguars’ second-leading scorer with 11.5 points per game, and Shaquille Benson were held out of Saturday’s loss because of a “violation of team rules,” Scott said.
Both bigs are expected to return Monday, which Scott hopes will aid star forward and fellow big Jared Sam in case the Jaguars knot themselves in another nail-biter against Jackson State, which snapped a three-game losing streak with a 60-57 win Saturday against Alcorn State.
“It’s a learning process,” Scott said. “Like I said, coming into the game, we have everybody available for this next one and we’ll be able to get after them. Hopefully we can complete the job this time.”
Southern's women are still in first place at 8-2 in the SWAC despite a 79-71 loss to Grambling on Saturday. Now comes a showdown with second-place Jackson State at 5:30 p.m. Monday. The Tigers (12-7, 7-3 SWAC) lead the league in scoring offense (73.5 points per game), rebounding, assists and steals, but Southern won the teams' first meeting 86-76 on Jan. 8 at home.