After spending the first few weeks of the season watching from the bench, Southern senior guard Trey Lynch made sure his return to the F.G. Clark Activity Center was one to remember.
Lynch — who missed almost a month after suffering a sprained ankle before the start of the season — dropped 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field, including five scores from beyond the arc in the Jaguars’ 68-55 win over Dillard on Friday night.
“Any time you come in and do your job, your points are going to add up,” Lynch said. “(I just wanted to) get back in the rhythm. I spent three and a half weeks on a sprained ankle and I just wanted to get into the flow of the game.”
Lynch played a limited role in Southern’s last few games, but coach Roman Banks considered Friday as his official return to the court as he played a team-leading 31 minutes.
Coming off the bench, Lynch was a crucial component in bringing Southern out of a first-half deficit after Southern got off to a slow start. His 19 points in the first half was a bright spot for a Jaguars team that made only five shots from the field excluding Lynch’s six scores.
“I don’t know if we’ll still be able to play Trey Lynch off the bench,” Banks said. “Even in the last two games, we find ourselves down 10 and we fight back and time runs down on us. I think right now, he’s been able to ignite us right away.”
The Jaguars would eventually pull away, as they allowed only 16 second-half points.
Two other Jaguars contributed to Lynch’s effort as forwards Jared Sam and Joell Hopkins posted double-digits. Sam totaled 10 points and four rebounds, while Hopkins put in 12 points and a pair of steals.
Banks attributed the early drought to a long finals week and not going into the game fully ready to play.
But as far as Banks is concerned, he doesn’t care how his team won as much as it snapping a dreadful five-game losing streak that loomed over the program during the first month of the season.
“I think we’re down because we haven’t won a game in a while,” Banks said. “I think you have to create that process all over.”
“The schedule this year, for this team, is a pretty tough one.”
Dillard coach Bernard Griffith said the outcome was simple: his team got lazy in the second half while Southern picked up the pressure.
The Bleu Devils were 14-for-29 in the first half, including 50 percent from 3-point range, but could only sink a lowly seven baskets in the second half.
Dillard guard Houston Chatman led the Bleu Devils with 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting.
Griffith was adamant that his team wasn’t worn down in the second half, but rather just failed to do the simple things they needed to get done
“I tell them all the time that they need to listen to that imaginary man and that imaginary man says, ‘We can do more than we do,’” Griffith said. “(Southern) didn’t fold, they stayed in and fought.”