Mixed together, foul trouble and injuries are a recipe for disaster.
Southern began the new year with a 12-point loss at Texas Southern and a foul-filled, injury-riddled, 78-74 defeat at Prairie View A&M on Wednesday, concluding a winless two-game Texas road trip to begin Southwestern Athletic Conference play.
“All in all, I thought we competed and played fairly decent,” said Southern coach Morris Scott. “The next night we came back, and I thought we kind of got off to a halfway decent start. We got right out of the gates for the first four minutes, and I guess we thought we were going to control the game a little bit. Then we got a couple of guys in foul trouble.
“Then it got real rough for us, because we had too many guys in foul trouble.”
Southern is 4-11 this season, 0-2 versus the SWAC and has yet to collect a road win during Scott’s first season as the Jaguars’ head coach.
There’s a common theme among Southern’s four wins. For Southern to win, it must play in Baton Rouge.
With all 11 losses on the road, each of the Jaguars' four wins were earned in Baton Rouge. A chance for No. 5 is set for Saturday, when the Jaguars host Grambling at 5:30 p.m. following the Lady Jaguars’ 3 p.m. contest also against Grambling at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
“Super glad to be coming back,” Scott said. “Like I told the guys, you want to go on the road and you want to come away with a split, because that’s one of the toughest road trips out there. All of them are tough … But you’ve got to come home and take care of home when you want to give yourself a chance to compete in this conference.”
Southern's starting senior guard Chris Thomas was sidelined for Wednesday’s game at Prairie View after rolling his ankle at Texas Southern. Battling injury, Thomas finished Southern’s 78-66 loss at Texas Southern but was unable to play Wednesday on the swollen ankle. Thomas lightly worked out Friday morning and Southern’s “hopeful” he’ll be available Saturday, Scott said.
The Jaguars, though, are becoming healthier. Reserve point guard Torrey Mayo returned from injury during the road trip as did starting point guard Eddie Reese.
“Hopefully we can get everybody back in the fold and get this thing going again,” Scott said.
Lady Jaguars, 3 p.m. vs. Grambling
Grambling, the Lady Jaguars' (2-9, 1-1 SWAC) opponent to kickoff Southern-Grambling doubleheader, is 5-8 through 13 games and just 1-6 on the road. Grambling will enter the F.G. Clark Activity Center riding a two-game winning streak, both against SWAC opponents. Grambling posted a season-high 93 points in Wednesday's win versus Alabama State.
The Lady Jaguars split their Texas road trip with a 10-point win to Texas Southern and a 69-62 loss at Prairie View A&M without scoring via a 3-pointer. Unconventionally, Southern made 19 field goals on 63 attempts and added another 24 points from the free-throw line.
But a win, especially on the road against the SWAC, is prized.
“Every time we hit the floor in our conference is going to be a battle royale,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said before the road trip. “We’ve got to come prepared.”