Southern men set for home opener

A quick glance at the Southern men’s basketball program shows a 1-5 team struggling with an abundance of new faces and a fresh system.

Upon further inspection, the situation isn’t nearly as bleak.

Four of Southern’s five losses have come to big conference schools with winning records, and the past three have been by seven points or fewer. The Jaguars have played every game away from home, and coach Roman Banks hopes the bumpy start can be a teaching tool.

“I think it has taught us a little bit about our basketball team,” he said. “Those games really have taught us to play for 40 minutes and that you have to sustain yourself at a high level mentally and physically for the whole basketball game. We’ve been playing some bigger schools, and we’ve been competing with those guys. I just hope that’s our common stuff every night.”

The Jaguars had a week off to regroup before facing Champion Baptist College at 2 p.m. Saturday at the F.G. Clark Activity Center. Banks said the Jaguars won’t look past CBC, a member of the Association of Christian College Athletics.

“We’re not going to take those guys lightly,” Banks said. “I’m sure they’re coming in to win a basketball game. Regardless of this team struggling or whatever the case may be, we need to make sure that we clean up some of the things that we needed to work on.”

The Jaguars haven’t played since last Saturday, but Banks said the time off has been good for the team after it played five games in eight days and then traveled to New Orleans to face Tulane a week ago.

After spending so much time on the road, several players had to miss practice to make up missed schoolwork. It’s not Banks’ ideal situation, but he was pleased with the practices and individual work the players got in during the week.

“After the start and the rough schedule we had, we needed (the rest) from a physical standpoint as well as a mental standpoint,” he said. “I think this time off has been well deserved just to sit back, heal some bodies and continue to learn the system. Usually we run something, and somebody goes right when they’re supposed to go left. Hopefully we straightened that out a little bit.”

Saturday’s matchup is a brief spot of game action sandwiched between 16 days of rest. After Saturday’s contest, the Jaguars have a nine-day break before kicking off a consistent stretch of games.

Saturday will be Southern’s first time in front of the home crowd this season.

“I’m hoping that there’s some excitement in the air,” Banks said. “Early in the season, we played in front of a few crowds that have been 10,000 or more, so we’ve been in hostile territory. It’ll be nice to come in and have some people cheering for us and patting us on the back. Hopefully we have an exciting atmosphere out there to give us some extra energy and get us going.”