Tuesday night wasn’t another milestone win against a major conference opponent, but it was a win, and that’s all that matters for Southern.
After coming out on top against Mississippi State and Tulane last week, the Jaguars cruised to a 79-65 victory over NAIA member Dillard at home, extending their win streak to three games.
“We worked thorough it tonight,” Southern coach Roman Banks said. “I was concerned about getting out there and have them thinking they were just going to wash this team, and this team is actually a pretty good basketball team.”
Dillard came out in a zone defense all night, which forced Southern into shooting more from the outside.
The Jaguars shot more from behind the 3-point line in the first half of Tuesday night’s outing (20) than it had in any full game this season.
Southern finished the half shooting 25 percent from 3-point territory, led by guards Trelun Banks and Adrian Rodgers with a pair of field goals beyond the arc each.
Rodgers said he would have liked to see the offense attack more in transition before the defense had a chance to set up, but the fact Dillard out rebounded the Jaguars 48-37 made that strategy difficult to execute.
Southern cooled from the perimeter cooled in the second half, shooting 5-of-10.
Rodgers led the Jaguars with 20 points on 5-for-15 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Trelun Banks was close behind with another 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
“To be honest, that wasn’t the plan,” Trelun Banks said, “but that was the shots that were given to us. The lane was packed, so we swung around a couple times, and the only open shots were threes. We didn’t make all of them, but we made a good bit of them.”
Southern was able to experiment a little more with its bench Tuesday night.
Roman Banks reached into his bench for the first time this season after playing only eight players before Tuesday night.
Rashad Andrews, Thomas Pierre-Louis and LaQuentin Collins saw floor time for the first time this season, contributing a combined 12 minutes, all of which came in the first half.
The bench produced 12 points for the Jaguars, which was a welcome addition after usual starter D’Arian Allen did not play because of a back injury suffered at practice during the week.
“We think that we needed to work in a couple of guys that we hadn’t seen and we think that can help us,” Roman Banks said.
Dillard was never in serious threat of overtaking the Jaguars at any time during the night, but the performance of Demetric Austin down low helped keep the game from getting too out of hand.
Austin, a usual starter, came off the bench for the Bleu Devils to produce a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds, almost all of which came in the second half.
Coach Mike Newell also used the game as an opportunity to experiment with his roster, starting four players off his bench.
“I wanted to prove a point that we have talent equal to (the starters), so who can play within the system, who can play with intelligence and the ones who do are the ones who are going to get the minutes,” Newell said. “Demetric came in here and took that as a challenge.”