“The gameplan was to play hard every possession so we can get better going into conference play. We’re going up against two (conference) teams later this week, and we wanted to work on us.” ROMAN BANKS, Southern coach
Offbeat comedian Steve Martin once remarked that comedy was not pretty. Monday night at the F.G. Clark Activity Center, basketball wasn’t pretty during Southern University’s nonconference basketball game against Champion Baptist College.
Beauty and levity were far from the scene, leaving only a coldly efficient effort from Southern as it led 44-0 in the first half on its way to a 116-12 win over the CBC Tigers.
That start was an NCAA record for the largest lead before an opponent scored its first basket. Seton Hall scored the first 34 points of the game against Kean on Nov. 29, 1998.
“It wasn’t about the opponent,” said Southern coach Roman Banks, whose team had last won Dec. 14 against Dillard before dropping two road games against nationally ranked opponents.
“We’ve been playing a very tough schedule, we need to correct some things, and we had a gameplan going in. The guys really stayed focused to that.”
Southern, which improved to 4-9 with the win, was led by Tre Lynch’s 27 points and Calvin Godfrey’s 15 rebounds. Four other Jaguars hit double figure scoring including Trelun Banks (21), Godfrey (17), and Malcolm Miller and Javan Mitchell (10 apiece).
Champion Baptist, whose tallest starter was 6-foot, 5-inch William Oliver, had trouble containing Southern’s 6-9 front court duo of Mitchell and Godfrey. The Tigers also struggled finding shots, any shots, from the field in the first half.
A member of the Association of Christian College Athletics, CBC missed its first 15 shots from the field. Meanwhile, Southern connected on 17 of 31 attempts, and led 44-0 with 5:16 left in the first half after Yondarius Johnson’s follow shot.
Champion Baptist finally got in the scoreboard at the 5:10 mark when Kris Connor hit two free throws.
“If we come out and do what we do then leads can get like that,” Lynch said. “We don’t try and look at the score. We just play our game and, God bless us, if the lead gets like that then so be it.”
Southern came into the game hoping to get some work for guard Christopher Hyder, who had been hobbled by an ankle injury. Hyder had seven points and 10 assists in 27 minutes.
Banks said Hyder’s ankle was around 90 percent recovered after the game. Also a concern for the Jaguars was a right elbow injury that Godfrey had been nursing. Godfrey played 22 minutes but went to his left hand much of the night to finish baskets. He left the game late after his elbow stiffened according to Banks.
For the game, Southern shot 59 percent (46 of 78) from the field and out-rebounded the smaller Tigers 71-51. Champion Baptist made 3 of its 44 field goal attempts and just 5 of 17 at the free throw line.
“Defensively I felt like we played aggressive, we played hard and that’s a pretty good showing for us against a D-1 school,” CBC coach Eric Capaci said. “Offensively, we just did not show up. We missed our free throws, and missed a lot of easy lay ups.
“(Southern) is big and tall, but we still should have dropped some more buckets.”
Southern outscored CBC 25-1 over the first six minutes of the second half to push its lead to 82-7.
“The gameplan was to play hard every possession so we can get better going into conference play,” Banks said. “We’re going up against two (conference) teams later this week, and we wanted to work on us.”