Jaguars eager after 3-0 SWAC start

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Southern guard Malcolm Miller gets around Blue Mountain College forward DeVante Pulliam earlier this season in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Southern guard Malcolm Miller gets around Blue Mountain College forward DeVante Pulliam earlier this season in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

The Southern men’s basketball team is eager to get back on the court after winning its first three Southwestern Athletic Conference games.

“We’re ready for the next practice, and we’re ready for the next game,” forward Malcolm Miller said. “We’re excited and love playing.”

The Jaguars (7-9, 3-0) play Jackson State (5-10, 1-2) at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Clark Activity Center.

Southern beat Grambling 73-49 in its conference home opener Saturday after beginning league play with victories at Prairie View and Texas Southern last week.

“We’re starting to jell,” Miller said. “Everybody knows their roles, and they’re being aggressive when they have the opportunity to attack. It’s all clicking.”

Miller, who struggled with his shooting during the nonconference schedule, has been extremely consistent in SWAC play. He has made six field goals in each of the three league games, making at least 50 percent of his shots in each. He has made 10 of 21 3-pointers in that time.

“He’s starting to find his rhythm,” said Southern coach Roman Banks, who advised Miller before the start of league play to stop searching for the 3-point line and just take the shots that are available.

“Coach told me to stop thinking so much,” Miller said. “So I’m just trying to shoot without thinking so much, and I’m trying to find other ways to score by getting to the basket and getting to the foul line.”

Banks told Miller and his teammates to be aggressive against Grambling’s zone defense, and he said he expects to see some zone from Jackson State as well.

“A zone tends to make you go to sleep a little bit and can take some of your aggression away,” Banks said. “Our inside game was not as effective as it could have been (against Grambling). Our post guys didn’t get as many touches as they would against man.”

Though the Jaguars never trailed against Grambling and led by double digits for the final 28-plus minutes, Banks said they weren’t as consistent as he would have liked.

“We were guarding them good for a while, then we started fouling a little bit,” he said. “We’ve got to straighten that out.”

Jackson State (5-10, 1-2) has some offensive issues to straighten out after its 64-51 loss at Alcorn State on Saturday.

The Tigers, who fell behind 32-16 at halftime, shot 31.5 percent for the game and didn’t have a single scorer reach double figures.

Center Brandon West, from Cheneyville, is averaging a double-double for Jackson State (11.7 points and 11.0 rebounds) after having eight points and 11 rebounds against Alcorn.

Guards Rasheed James, of Zachary, and Chester Victor, of East St. John, have played sparingly for the Tigers.