PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Southern followed its lowest point total in a conference game this season with one of its highest.
The Jaguars bounced back from a 62-52 home loss to Jackson State on Monday by beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff 74-56 on Saturday night in the H.O. Clemmons Arena. They scored their second-most points in a Southwestern Athletic Conference game this season.
Southern beat Mississippi Valley State, which it visits Monday, 79-55 on Jan. 19. The Jaguars improved to 9-3 and 12-14 overall. The Golden Lions are 5-7 and 8-18.
“We showed great effort tonight,” Southern coach Roman Banks said. “I’m really proud of how we responded. There’s no question we were disappointed with the way we played in our last game, but I think that made us focus better and we played with a much more consistent effort.”
Southern, which led 31-21 at halftime and pulled away in the second half, did a much better job of rebounding than it did in its loss Monday. After giving up 21 offensive rebounds to Jackson State, the Jaguars kept the Golden Lions off the boards, winning the rebounding battle 42-29, its largest margin in a conference game this season.
“We were fortunate to get a lot of stops,” Banks said. “We outrebounded them and we made some shots, which was key. Also, we were able to get out in transition, which meant we weren’t always having to shoot with a hand in our face.”
Southern held the Golden Lions to just five field goals on 28 shots (17.9 percent) in the first half. In the second half, Southern made 53.6 percent of its shots to finish at 49.1 percent for the game.
The Jaguars scored the first points on Christopher Hyder’s jumper 39 seconds into the game and led the rest of the way.
Banks said he went with a smaller lineup for much of the game and still got improved rebounding as Tre Lynch and Adrian Rodgers attacked the boards from the their perimeter positions.
Lynch had a double-double with game-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds and Rodgers had nine rebounds and eight points. Joell Hopkins had 12 points and five rebounds.
Tevin Ghiavonni led the Golden Lions with 14 points, Thaddeus Handely scored 13 and Devin Berry had 12.
It helped that the Jaguars were facing the team with the second-worst rebounding margin in the SWAC. UAPB entered the game with a rebounding margin of minus-34. The Jaguars were fifth in rebound margin (minus-0.1).
Southern’s second-highest point total in a SWAC game had been the 70 it scored in a 10-point win against UAPB on Jan. 17 in the F.G. Clark Activity center. Rebounding was a key to that win as well. The Jaguars’ nine-rebound advantage was their largest in any SWAC game this season.
The Jaguars moved within a game of first place, behind Alabama Stater, which lost to Alabama A&M 80-71, and Texas Southern, which beat Grambling 81-58.