Tre Lynch seems to have regained his shooting touch.
He has made 50 percent of his field goals (10-of-20) and 50 percent of his 3-pointers (5-of-10) in Souther’s last two games. That shooting has yielded back-to-back double-digit scoring games — 15 in a win at Jackson State on Monday and 14 two nights earlier in a win at Grambling.
Lynch will try to keep it up when the Jaguars (14-10 and 10-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) play Arkansas-Pine Bluff (8-15, 6-5) at approximately 6 p.m. Saturday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. The Jaguars won the first meeting 60-56 Jan. 18 in Pine Bluff, Ark.
“We encourage him to shoot the basketball,” Southern coach Roman Banks said. “For some reason, he likes to get in the paint, but when his feet are planted, he shoots about as well as anybody else on the team.
“So I like for him to get some shoots up and get a feel for what the ball is going to do for him early.”
The ball didn’t do much for Lynch in the five games before the last two. In that stretch, he had scored in single figures in each game, making just 9-of-25 field goals (36 percent) and 1-of-12 3-pointers (8.3 percent).
He made just 1-of-4 3-pointers against Grambling but made 4-of-6 against Jackson State.
“I shoot it every day,” Lynch said. “It’s just a matter of coming out and shooting it the way I do at practice.”
Earlier in the season, Lynch had some of the more explosive scoring nights for Southern, scoring 27 points against both Baylor and Champions Baptist. He’s the third-leading scorer (10.1 points per game) on the team despite coming off the bench. He’s second in 3-point attempts (103) and 3-point percentage (36.9).
“Tre Lynch likes to drive, and I think shooting is his strength,” Banks said. “I think he direct drives well, but I think the best thing he does is shoot open shots well. So we’re trying to get him to understand what he does well, and that will help him do what he likes to do more.”
If Lynch continues to shoot like he did Monday night, it will give him more room to drive as defenses extend toward him on the perimeter.
With Yondarius Johnson and Lynch shooting from the outside, Trelun Banks getting accustomed to playing primarily point guard, Mike Harrell getting healthier after being slowed by a groin strain, the Jaguars backcourt is showing its depth.
That came in handy when the frontcourt wasn’t at its best Monday night. Javan Mitchell and Calvin Godfrey were in foul trouble and Malcolm Miller scored just six points.
“We always thought this team had the abilities to win in a variety of ways and win by committee,” coach Banks said. “We always thought we had guys capable of stepping up and attacking you in different ways, not just offensively but also defensively.”
If Southern can maintain its inside-outside balance consistently, its two-game lead in the SWAC will be difficult to erase.
“It makes us a lot better,” Godfrey said. “That’s our game — kick it out and shoot the three or re-post, either way we’ve just got to work it.”
Though Lynch’s scoring has been sporadic of late, Godfrey said that can be misleading.
“I practice with him,” Godfrey said. “He’s got that stroke. It didn’t go anywhere.”