JACKSON, Miss. — The Jackson State men’s basketball team had been a tough-luck loser through three conference games, losing three times by eight combined points.
Tuesday’s game against Southern never got that far.
The Tigers went back and forth with the Jaguars for about 30 minutes at the Williams Athletic and Assembly Center, but Southern eventually started to pull away in a 80-67 victory that extended its winning streak to six games.
“We didn’t stop them tonight,” Southern coach Roman Banks said, “but I thought we were able to slow them enough that our offense could go on a little run.”
Sixth-man extraordinare Malcolm Miller continued his torrid start to Southwestern Athletic Conference play, leading all scorers with 28 points and all rebounders with nine.
Miller upped his average to 22.8 points in Southern’s four league games.
Southern (10-6, 4-0) ended a stretch of four games over seven days with its second straight road game, this one coming two days after an 82-43 whitewash of Grambling. This one played out much differently.
On a pair of free throws by Dundrecous Nelson with 16:31 left, Jackson State (1-12, 0-4) led by four points, 40-36, in a game that featured nine ties and 10 lead changes.
But Southern went back ahead on a a Yondarius Johnson layup 58 seconds later and never looked back, building the lead to double digits on a 3-pointer by Johnson at the 7:39 mark and never allowing JSU back within single digits after that.
A dunk by Kelsey Howard at the buzzer provided the final margin.
“We were able to regroup in the second half and match their physicality,” Banks said. “We just need to be a little more consistent in that area.”
Howard led JSU with 20 points, one of three Tigers in double figures.
Javan Mitchell had 14 points and six rebounds for Southern on the inside. Derick Beltan and Johnson (12 points each) joined Miller in leading a perimeter game that went 9-of-18 from 3-point range.
Next up for Southern, Arkansas-Pine Bluff visits the F.G. Clark Activity Center on Saturday.
UAPB entered Tuesday unbeaten in the SWAC and a half-game behind Southern in the league standings.