NEW ORLEANS — Quinton Doggett had 21 points and 13 rebounds Friday as the Southern men’s basketball team cruised to a 66-57 win over MacMurray College on the first night of the Skip Prosser Tournament at Tulane.
Russell Hill came off the bench to score 18 points in 22 minutes against the NAIA Highlanders. Point guard Jameel Grace added five points, eight rebounds and a game-high eight assists for the Jaguars (3-5), who face Jacksonville State at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Fogelman Arena.
“We’ll take it. We’ll take it — especially after finals,” said first-year coach Roman Banks, whose team finished final exams Friday morning in Baton Rouge. “I thought we’d be a little sluggish, coming off a long break and just finishing our finals. So this is a win, and I’m happy about that. I think that we have better in us.”
Southern can equal last year’s win total Saturday by defeating the Gamecocks.
The Jaguars went 4-26 last season in their final year under Rob Spivery.
On Friday night, Southern’s defense held MacMurray to 28-percent shooting, including 5-for-20 shooting from 3-point range. The Jaguars also had a 52-42 advantage in rebounds.
“I really believe in our defense. I really do,” Banks said. “I really like what we’ve been doing on that end.”
Southern’s offense wasn’t always as sharp. The Jaguars shot just 35 percent from the floor, and starting guards Derick Beltran and Cameron Monroe combined for six points on 1-for-13 shooting.
Mike Celestin, limited by bruised ribs, played only four minutes.
SU did help itself by going 20-for-27 at the free-throw line.
“We have some guys that I think can shoot the basketball,” Banks said. “But tonight, we missed a layup, missed a putback. ... Actually, it’s just a case of finishing the play. They’re taking the quality shots, and it’s the right guys taking the shots. We just have to get them to go in.”
Brady Slagle scored 10 points for MacMurray (4-3). Clint Lee added nine points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Fred Coleman gave the Jaguars an early lift, scoring all of his eight points in the first half as Southern slowly built a double-digit lead. SU was ahead by as many as 13 points, but MacMurray closed to within 35-27 at halftime.
Doggett erupted in the second half, with 14 points and nine rebounds.
“Fred played well. He played big on the inside,” Banks said. “I’m very pleased with Doggett. He really stepped up.”
Southern led by as many 16 points in the second half.