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Southern University Jaguars guard Brion Whitley (22) pushes past Tulane Green Wave forward Kevin Cross as he drives to the basket during the first half of a basketball game at the Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse in New Orleans, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

After spending the first two weeks of the season on the road, the Southern men’s basketball team is home for a much-needed break.

Southern (1-4) showed resilience in its first two games, but appeared road-weary in the past week when it dropped three games.

“This long road trip kind of caught us from a fatigue standpoint,” said Southern coach Sean Woods after the Jaguars lost 82-59 at Nebraska on Sunday.

“Ending the road trip with Nebraska, the toughest foe of the road trip, it was kind of telltale. But we’re fighting and scrapping, and I like what our guys are doing right now. It's only going to help us down the road.”

The next stop on that road is Southern’s home opener against Ecclesia College (5-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Guards Jayden Saddler and Brion Whitley lead the Jaguars in scoring, with each averaging 12.4 points. Whitley has been Southern’s top bench player and leads the team with 12 made 3-pointers.

Forward Tyrone Lyons has also been a factor with his scoring (12.0) and rebounding (4.6). Damien Sears is Southern’s top rebounder at 7.0 per game.

Southern’s most impressive games were its first two. In the opener, Southern led Louisville by as many as six points in the first half. The Cardinals didn’t take control until the late stages of a 72-60 win.

The Jaguars followed with a 73-70 win at Tulane, the program’s second all-time win over the Green Wave and its first in New Orleans. Using power rankings as a barometer, Southern’s win over Tulane is the best by any Southwestern Athletic Conference team in nonconference play so far.

The Tulane game is the only one where Southern had the edge in rebounding. Even though the win came in the early part of the season, Woods knows it was important.

“It says that we have a chance, that we can compete with anybody,” he said.

Southern was competitive in losses at Rice and at South Dakota.

Against the Owls, the Jaguars whittled a 24-point second-half deficit down to five points before running out of gas in the closing minutes of an 81-63 loss. The Jaguars' 71-68 loss to South Dakota was anyone’s game until the end.

For now, as Southern continues to ready itself for conference play in January, home cooking appears to be just what the Jaguars need.

“When you’re on the road this long it's tough,” Woods said. “You’ve got to shoot the ball well every night to win on the road against the teams that we’re playing. I thought, defensively, we were doing enough, but we’re just not scoring enough to win on the road.

“It's time for us to come home and regroup a little bit.”