Southern men roll to fifth straight victory

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRESouthern's Yondarius Johnson defends Prairie View's Montrael Scott on Thursday night.
Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRESouthern's Yondarius Johnson defends Prairie View's Montrael Scott on Thursday night.

The Southern men’s basketball team played its first game as outright Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Thursday night and looked the part.

The Jaguars withstood an early shooting spree by Prairie View and rolled to their fifth straight victory, 91-58 in the F.G. Clark Activity center.

Southern, 19-11 and 15-2 in the SWAC, hosts Texas Southern in its regular-season finale Saturday. The Panthers are 8-21 and 6-11.

Several players took turns providing an offensive lift as the Jaguars had their second-highest scoring SWAC game of the season, surpassing a 104-54 victory at Grambling on Feb. 8.

All five starters scored in double figures. Yondarius Johnson scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half, Malcolm Miller had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Javan Mitchell had 15 points in just 21 minutes. Trelun Banks scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half and Calvin Godfrey had nine of his 11 in the second half.

“We know anybody is capable of scoring,” Mitchell said. “We were getting open shots. Whenever somebody gets hot we just let them go.”

Southern shot 54 percent from the floor and 50 percent on 3-pointers. It outrebounded Prairie View 51-26.

Hershey Robinson led Prairie View with 14 points and John Brisco had 13.

“It was sloppy at times,” Southern coach Roman Banks said. “But we’re in first place and we’re already the number one seed (in the SWAC tournament) so everyone is going to play their best against us. This team is still jockeying for position so we knew we’d get their best.”

The Jaguars led by five at halftime and quickly extended their advantage at the start of the second half.

Mitchell dunked off an assist from Banks, Johnson scored on a drive and Banks made a 3-pointer to give Southern a 47-38 lead less than three minutes into the second half.

Demondre Chapman’s put-back ended Prairie View’s scoring drought nearly two minutes later, but Damien Goodwin’s layup increased the lead to 13 with 12 minutes left.

Three-pointers by Louis Munks and Robinson cut the lead to nine, but Miller’s 3-pointer started an 8-1 Southern run.

Brisco made a 3-pointer, but Johnson had a layup and a dunk as the Jaguars pushed the lead to 76-55 with 5:56 left.

Miller scored nine points as Southern raced to a 16-9 lead after five minutes.

But Prairie View got even hotter as Andre Adams scored six points during a 17-2 run that gave the Panthers a 26-18 lead midway through the half.

“Coach got on us and told us that we had to buckle down on defense,” Johnson said. “We just had to get some stops and slow them down and we did.”

Banks’ seven points started a 12-0 run that gave the Jaguars a 30-26 lead.

Robinson made three straight 3-pointers and a fourth jumper from just inside the 3-point stripe as Prairie View briefly regained the lead at 34-33.

Southern finished the half strong on the inside. Bryce Clark made a free throw and layup and Mitchell had a three-point play, made a layup and scored on a put-back as the Jaguars went into halftime with a 43-38 lead.

Mitchell led all scorers with 13 first-half points, Miller had 12 and Banks 10. Robinson led the Panthers with 11.

“They wanted to pressure our guards,” coach Banks said, “and we knew that would leave us some one-on-one opportunities with the post. Javan did a good job of getting in position and also getting some rebounds.”