Down by one with 25 seconds left, Southern drew up a final play to try to retake the lead against Southeastern Louisiana on Friday at the University Center in Hammond.
Southern coach Roman Banks called a “blackjack,” which puts the ball in the hands of either Trelun Banks or Adrian Rodgers, two of the Jaguars’ best shooters.
Nowhere was Shawn Prudhomme’s name mentioned.
But as the clock ticked down to 14 seconds, the Lions snuffed out the designed call, forcing Southern to figure out a new best option.
By random luck, the next best option turned out to be Prudhomme in the corner, who threw up his sixth 3-point attempt of the night to give the Jaguars a 71-69 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Southern went on to seal the game 73-69 thanks to a pair of free throws by Trelun Banks just before the buzzer, extending its win streak to five straight outings.
“It was tough on me,” said Prudhomme, who was swarmed by teammates after hitting the shot. “I was really thinking in my head, ‘Should I take it? Should I dribble up? Take a two?’ But I just stayed poised and shot the ball.”
Prudhomme was the Jaguars’ spark all night as he came off the bench in the first half to help push Southern on a 23-6 run before halftime.
Before the junior forward’s entrance, Southern fell behind 20-7 after shooting 37 percent in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Prudhomme finished the night with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range — a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Southeastern coach Jay Ladner.
“We didn’t do a good job of knowing personnel there,” Ladner said of Prudhomme’s game-winning shot. “I would’ve taken my chances with (Southern guard Christopher Hyder), who was 2-for-5 the whole night, but we over helped on him and leave a kid who was 8-for-10 on the night and finished with 23 points.”
Ladner took the brunt of the blame for his team’s play, saying he let them down with a poor defensive play call at the end of the game.
Up until then, the Lions were on a tear, climbing back from a 13-point hole with a little more than 13 minutes to play, capped off by a 12-3 run before Prudhomme’s shot.
Southeastern finished the game shooting 20-for-48 from the field compared to Southern’s 26-53, but the Lions out rebounded the Jaguars 42 to 27 on their home court.
The win was particularly emotional for Roman Banks who, before taking over at Southern, was an assistant in Hammond for eight seasons. Friday night was the first time in Banks’ tenure that he has beat the Lions on the road.
“I think it’s been 15 or 20 years since Southern has come in here and beat them,” Banks said. “It’s a big step for the program when you haven’t beaten somebody for so long. It’s a good win for this team.”