The Southern and Mississippi Valley State men’s basketball teams played at a fast-scoring pace in the first half Monday night.
Then, they played at a slower pace in the second half.
The Jaguars were better at both, and that led to a 79-55 victory in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
“We ran with them early,” Southern guard Christopher Hyder said. “Then, when we saw what the lead was and how the game was developing, we slowed things down, ran some clock and got some easy baskets late.”
The Jaguars outscored Valley 43-30 in the first half and 36-25 in the second as they won their fourth consecutive game.
Southern (8-12, 5-1 SWAC) plays at Alabama A&M on Saturday. The Delta Devils fell to 2-16 and 1-4.
Tre Lynch led the Jaguars with 23 points, making 8-of-13 field goals, including 4-of-7 3-pointers. Adrian Rodgers scored 15, Trelun Banks 13, Frank Snow 10 and Hyder had six points, seven rebounds and six assists.
“The way they run at you and attack you, you have to attack their defense,” Southern coach Roman Banks said of the Delta Devils. “Hyder is all about speed, so this game was tailor-made for him.”
The Jaguars had 17 assists on 32 field goals as they shot 52.5 percent.
Valley had three assists on 21 field goals as it shot 30.9 percent and made just 1-of-13 3-pointers.
Jordan Washington and Isaac Williams led the Delta Devils with 14 points each, but Washington scored just four points on 2-of-6 shooting in the second half. He made 4-of-8 in the first half as Valley kept the game nearly even before Southern closed the half on a 13-2 run.
“Our bench came in and played well,” Roman Banks said. “And when we brought them back, they had fresh legs, and we were able to finish the half strong.”
Southern gradually extended its lead early in the second half. Jeffrey Simmons and DeAngelo Priar got free for layups for Valley, but Rodgers had two baskets and Hyder and Jared Sam one each as the Jaguars built the lead to 51-34 four minutes into the half.
Then the scoring pace slowed as the Delta Devils had two baskets and the Jaguars one during the next 5½ minutes.
Valley got within 53-41 when Williams scored on a putback, but Lynch responded with a short jumper and Rodgers made two free throws midway through the half.
The Delta Devils got within 14 with 5:41 left, but Lynch hit a jumper and Banks made two free throws — and the lead grew from there.
“Coach told us that most of our shots were going to come early because of the way they trap on defense,” Lynch said. “So we wanted to beat the trap, attack and go and finish.”
The Delta Devils are the second highest-scoring team in the SWAC, and they set the pace in the early going, but the Jaguars seemed content with that.
“We have no problem playing like that,” Banks said. “Southern has traditionally been a fast-break team and, when I came here, one of the things I vowed to do was keep that.”
Washington scored six straight points to give Valley a one-point lead, which grew to three after a layup by Priar.
Lynch came off the bench to make three consecutive 3-pointers and help Southern take a four-point lead.
“When he hits his first two or three shots, whether it’s in a game or in practice, he’s more than likely going to hit the next one,” Hyder said of Lynch, “so he’s probably getting the next shot.”
Williams and Keith Davis exchanged baskets before Washington scored from the lane. Snow, Banks and Lynch made consecutive baskets to give the Jaguars a nine-point lead.
After Washington made two free throws, Snow, Hyder and Banks made consecutive baskets. That gave Southern a 43-30 halftime lead.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.