GREENWOOD, Miss. — Adrian Rodgers’ outside shooting helped Southern build a double-digit lead, and Christopher Hyder’s late scoring kept it from evaporating.
In the end, the Jaguars had their fourth consecutive victory, beating Mississippi Valley State 67-54 on Monday night in the Leflore County Civic Center.
Southern (12-7, 4-2 SWAC) will face Alabama State on Saturday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. The Delta Devils fell to 2-17 and 2-3.
Rodgers scored 20 points as the Jaguars built a 48-30 lead early in the second half. Hyder had nine of Southern’s last 19 points to stymie Valley, which cut the deficit to single digits four times during the final 10 minutes.
“This was a team that likes to trap and get run-outs, and every game they’ve had a 10-0 or 12-2 run early,” Jaguars coach Roman Banks said of the Devils. “We knew a run like that was going to come, so we wanted to get off to a good start so we could withstand it when it came.”
It came after Rodgers, who finished with a game-high 23 points, made three baskets to help Southern extend its 13-point halftime lead to 48-30 with 14 minutes left.
Kylan Phillips and Latrell Love heated up, and the Jaguars cooled down.
Phillips scored six and Love had four during a 12-0 run that got the Devils within six.
“We gave them too many easy points during that run,” Rodgers said. “We won’t mind so much if they make tough shots, but we helped them out with free throws (as they went 3-of-4).”
But Hyder, who finished with 13 points, scored on consecutive drives before Rodgers made two free throws to give the Jaguars a 54-42 lead with eight minutes left.
“They started extending their defense, and that created some gaps,” Hyder said. “So I started taking the ball to the basket, made a couple of shots and got in a rhythm.”
Love scored four straight but missed two free throws that could have tightened the score more. LaQuentin Collins made a basket and fed Rodgers for another and a 12-point lead.
Marcus Romain made a 3-pointer, but Collins scored on a drive and Southern had an 11-point lead with four minutes left.
Phillips led Valley with 13 points, and Isaac Williams scored 10.
Valley entered the game as the top-scoring team in SWAC play in scoring (76.5) and 3-point percentage (39.1). The Devils made 6-of-19 3-point attempts, but most came while they were trying to catch up after falling behind for good less than four minutes in. Southern made 7-of-21.
“We were hoping they’d be climbing uphill all night,” Banks said.
Center D’Andre Allen missed his fifth straight game, and guard Trelun Banks missed his second in a row. Each has a sprained ankle. Roman Banks said there’s a chance either or both could be back for Saturday’s game.