Southern’s second game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff went much like the first: Another Jaguars win was never in doubt.
The first-place Jaguars crushed ninth-place Arkansas-Pine Bluff 59-46 on Saturday afternoon at the F.G. Clark Activity Center. Southern (11-10, 10-2 SWAC) improved its league-best home record to 7-0.
The Jaguars are the league’s first team to hit 10 wins and have eclipsed the .500 plateau overall for the first time this season, although moments of Saturday’s were sloppy.
“We played the way we practiced this week,” coach Sandy Pugh said. “We practiced Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and all three of those days, we just seemed unfocused. And it carried over.”
If there was a specific area Pugh could designate as the winning ingredient, it was the Jaguars’ defense, which forced 30 turnovers and maintained exhausting pressure even with a 23-point lead late in the fourth quarter.
Even with a 33-19 lead at halftime, Southern continued to use full-court pressure until Arkansas-Pine Bluff (5-17, 3-9 SWAC) began to fully tire in the third quarter and beyond.
The Jaguars’ chaotic defense has become their staple. Forty minutes of “mayhem,” as Pugh calls the pressure, has steered Southern to nine wins in its past 10 games.
"We're going to stay active," Pugh said. "We're going to keep the pressure up, make them have to play fast. ... We continue that pace, I think we'll be fine. When we slow it down, I think it's when we get in trouble. We start thinking too much."
Southern freshman forward Alyric Scott posted a career-high 16 points. Samantha Duncan added eight.
“You know, I never saw her get 16 points. Wow,” Pugh said of Scott. “(Alyric) has been playing really well for us … Alyric is a natural scorer. She has a nose for the basket.”
The Jaguars rattled in eight 3-pointers, their most since they also hit eight in a 71-52 win at Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Jan. 13.
"We knew that they were better than when we played them last time," Duncan said. "Coaches told us to go out there and don't be expecting to get the same result as we did when we beat them at their place. That's what we did."