PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas — Trailing by 15 points midway through the second half, Southern was running out of big men and time.
Keith Davis just picked up his fourth foul. Frank Snow was already sitting with three, and Jared Sam couldn’t get back in the game after trying to play on a sprained ankle.
So, the Jaguars did the only thing they could do — put out a four-guard lineup and hope for the best.
Christopher Hyder and Trelun Banks delivered just that in a dramatic 77-73 win over Prairie View at the William Nicks Building.
“It’s one of the gutsiest wins we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Southern coach Roman Banks said. “To come back like we did — I don’t know if you can do that again and get away with it.
“I know this team isn’t the most talented team we’ve ever had, but it was one of the best wins we’ve had in a long time.”
With the big men watching, Southern’s guards chipped away at the 15-point deficit, closing out the game on a 40-21 run.
Four guards reached double-figures with Hyder leading the way with a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds.
“We were down 15 points, but we had just missed a lot of shots in the first half,” Hyder said. “In the second half, we came out more focused, with more energy and put the shots in. We got some stops, started making shots and then put them away.”
Trelun Banks added 17 points, while Tre Lynch scored 11 and Adrian Rodgers 10.
“Basketball is all about runs,” Trelun Banks said. “In college, a 15-point lead is nothing if you stay focused and stay patient.”
Southern (16-15, 13-4) will now face Texas Southern on Saturday and could finish as high as the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament.
Prairie View (13-17, 11-6) was led by Tre Hagood with 32 points. Montrael Scott was the only other Panther in double-figures with 13.
Things didn’t look so good for the Jaguars early on.
With two seconds left before halftime, Banks stood from the sideline in disbelief as Davis was whistled for his third foul.
Southern went into the locker room with Sam hobbled and Davis and Snow with three fouls apiece.
Thing got so bad Banks was playing 6-foot-5 Joell Hopkins at center.
Despite the small lineup, the Jaguars were only outrebounded 44-43. Both teams made 38 percent of their shots from the field.
“We honestly like to play with four guards more because we spread the floor more and we get out in transition and get easy baskets,” said Hyder, who scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half. He also had a team his five assists.
The Jaguars now have a chance to be the No. 2 seed with a win at TSU and an Alabama State loss. SU will enter the tournament no lower than the No. 3 seed.
“We finished out on the road against a good team tonight,” Roman Banks said. “But we can’t rest. We enjoy this tonight and then try to finish out another tough game Saturday.”