LAS VEGAS — Southern ended its first losing streak of the season when it defeated North Carolina Central 68-63 in the Global Sports Classic on Monday afternoon.
The Jaguars (8-4) lost back-to-back games against Memphis and Louisiana Tech last week before holding off the Eagles, who are 3-8 after losing their fourth straight.
Southern will play Omaha in the championship game of the visitors bracket of the classic at 3:30 p.m. CST Tuesday in its final game until next month.
“(UNCC) came out with a lot of energy,” Jaguars coach Roman Banks said. “They were more aggressive, but we just kept playing. We didn’t panic.
“It was a very tough, physical ballgame. And when you’re in a heavyweight fight, you try to make it through all 12 rounds. We were able to stand toe to toe with them, and we got the lead late in the first half and were able to keep it.”
Adrian Rodgers led Southern with 18 points, Jared Sam scored 15, Shawn Prudhomme had 12 and Trelun Banks 10.
Patrick Cole scored a game-high 19 points for the Eagles, and Dante Holmes and Jeremiah Ingram scored 12 each.
Southern led 58-53 with 1:26 left when Sam made two free throws and a jumper and Rodgers hit a free throw for a 10-point lead.
Cole got the Eagles within 64-58 with a layup then a 3-pointer with 15.6 seconds remaining, but Rodgers and Prudhomme made two free throws each to ensure the win.
UNCC, which played in the National Invitation Tournament last season and the NCAA tournament two years ago, will play Eastern Illinois for third place Tuesday.
Jake White scored 20 points and Tre’Shawn Thurman had 18 as Omaha defeated Eastern Illinois 80-68 in the other semifinal Monday.
The Mavericks (7-6) took a 41-25 halftime lead with White scoring 12 points and Devin Patterson 10. Omaha shot 51.4 percent in the first half and ended up 31 of 58 overall (53.4 percent). Patterson finished with 15 points.
The Buccaneers (2-8) made 24-of-64 shots (37.5 percent), including 10-of-31 from 3-point range. Eastern Illinois committed 22 turnovers that Omaha turned into 32 points.
Trae Anderson led Eastern Illinois with 15 points, Cornell Johnson scored 12 and Demetrius McReynolds had 11.
Omaha led by as many 22 points in the second half. Eastern Illinois got as close as 10 with 1:48 to play.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.