Southern showed off a deep and athletic roster Monday night when it jetted past Ecclesia College 121-55 at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The Jaguars (2-2) wasted little time putting away the Royals, and jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the game’s first five minutes. Ecclesia (1-8) trailed 44-6 with less than five minutes to play in the first half before finally settling down.
Damiree Burns turned in the best scoring night, hitting on 14 of 19 from the field, and finishing with 33 points. Also hitting double figures were Jayden Saddler and Isaiah Rollins with 12 points apiece and Ashante Shivers with 11 points.
Amel Kuljuhovic, a 6-foot-10 senior transfer from Cal-State Fullerton, scored 8 points on 4-of-6 shooting. He also blocked two shots, and tied Saddler and Burns for team-high honors with six rebounds.
After the game, Jaguars coach Sean Woods said the Jaguars aren’t close to hitting their ceiling, yet.
“We play so tough defensively, we’re switching and everything, but because of all these new guys we’re not where we need to be,” Woods said. “Its still early but we’ve got some things to work on.”
One thing Woods wanted to see was more assists, and he got it against the Royals. The Jaguars had 19 assists, one short of the team goal Woods had set at 20 prior to the game. Southern also took care of the basketball, and committed only 7 turnovers.
“I don’t care who we play, we took care of the basketball today,” he said. “We’ve got to continue to get better at that. That’s part of the reason why we haven’t been scoring, but you don’t get assists when you can’t put the ball in the hole, either.”
Against Ecclesia, Southern shot 54.9% (50 of 91) from the floor and 63.6% at the foul line (14 of 22). The Jaguars also outrebounded the smaller Royals 52-26.
Ecclesia had trouble making anything through the first 15 minutes of the game. It scored 10 points in the final four minutes of the first half and trailed 56-16 at halftime.
Zachary McGee and Nicholas Coble each scored 15 points to top the scoring for Ecclesia, most of it coming in the second half.
“We adapted to their pressure and got more comfortable,” Ecclesia coach Tanner Huck said. “We started playing our game a little more, and it helped that (Southern) substituted some, too.”