For just the second time this season, Southern is coming off a loss.
The Jaguars (5-2) saw their five-game win streak snapped when they lost at Grand Canyon University 70-56 on Tuesday. They’ll try to get back on track when they visit Wyoming (5-3) at 8 p.m. CST Thursday.
“Basketball is a long season,” coach Roman Banks said Wednesday. “I want to see how we bounce back. We played a very good team and a very good program that hasn’t lost at home. You don’t want to panic.”
Southern spent much of the day traveling Wednesday and was scheduled to practice after arriving in Laramie. After a season-opening 86-68 loss at Arkansas, the Jaguars had the next two days off and Banks said an intense practice on the second day laid the groundwork for a 78-72 win at Mississippi State that began the win streak.
“I wish we had a couple of days to prepare,” Banks said, “but we’re going to continue to do the things we’ve been doing and see if we can play the same caliber of ball that we’ve been playing and continue to find ways to win.”
Southern led Grand Canyon 35-30 early in the second half before the Antelopes went on an 11-0 run, then built the lead to 11 with 3:10 left and led by double-digits the rest of the way.
“We played pretty well and they made that run,” Banks said. “We knew a run was coming and we weren’t able to stop it.”
Banks said Grand Canyon was the biggest team across the board that the Jaguars have faced, starting a 6-foor-5 shooting guard and a 6-7 small forward. The Antelopes also brought 6-6, 6-8 and 6-11 players off the bench.
Wyoming has 6-9 and 6-10 starters in the frontcourt, but its wings are 6-2 and 6-5.
“They’re not as big on the perimeter,” Banks said, “and they’re not as big all across.”
Grand Canyon outrebounded Southern 41-28.
The Jaguars led 31-29 after a first half in which they made 7-of-16 3-pointers, but they missed all nine of their 3-pointers in the second half. They finished with their lowest point total of the season, 12 fewer than they had in the season opener.
“I think for the first time we got a little winded,” Banks said. “They set screens very hard and it was a very physical game. We had shots that we normally make and didn’t make them in the second half.”
Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams is the fifth-leading scorer in the country (24.9 points per game).
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.