Southern has run out of time.
Three of the Jaguars’ last five-regular season games are on the road, a setting where they have struggled mightily with 13 losses in 15 games.
Southern, which started 1-4 in conference play, remains in third place of the 10-team Southwestern Athletic Conference. With five games to go, to keep climbing, Southern must win and win now.
“(We’re) right there,” coach Morris Scott said.
“We’re getting closer and closer,” added forward Jared Sam, Southern’s leading scorer and rebounder at 15.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, both career highs.
The Jaguars (12-14, 8-5 SWAC) have won seven of their past eight contests, including their current three-game winning streak. They'll try to make it four in a row Saturday at seventh-ranked Alabama State.
Tip-off is 5:30 p.m. at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
The Hornets, who have also won three in a row, are 3-4 since their 63-61 loss at Southern at the F.G. Clark Activity Center on Jan. 20.
Alabama State (6-18, 6-6) is 2-5 at home, the second fewest home wins of any team in the SWAC.
Alabama A&M, Southern’s second stop on this three-piece road trip, is 1-6 at home. Following Monday’s game at Alabama A&M, Southern will have a week off before traveling to Alcorn State on Feb. 24.
“Very crucial time in the season,” Scott said. “Going on the road for three games is going to be tough. Alabama State is a team that’s won three games in a row. They’ll be ready to play. They’re playing good basketball.”
JAGUARS TRY TO KEEP ROLLING: Southern’s women have torched the SWAC. With 11 wins in 13 tries, the Jaguars haven’t stopped their easy stroll through the league. They'll try to keep it going at 3 p.m. at Alabama State.
However, they have had hiccups. But those noticeable bruises haven’t usually shown up in the loss column.
A look at Monday’s 66-58 win versus Mississippi Valley State provides an example. Southern, the first-place team, committed 24 turnovers against Valley, the team in last place, and it surely wasn’t pretty.
But coach Sandy Pugh added it to Southern's list of “grind games,” or poor outings which have forced Southern to refocus and redeem itself.
“Yes, it does, just for the simple fact that we played terribly,” senior forward Briana Green said. “Even though people see the win, they don’t see behind the scenes where we turned the ball over. We missed box-outs. We don’t hit shots and don’t do the little things.”