Southern stuns Mississippi State behind new energy, excitement
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Southern University used a late 12-0 run to build an 8-point lead before withstanding a furious Mississippi State run to escape with a 76-72 upset from the Humphrey Coliseum Monday night.
The four-point win marked the program's second win over an SEC foe under head coach Roman Banks. Southern scored a 53-51 road win over Texas A&M in College Station in 2012.
“I thought it was a well-fought basketball contest," Banks said. "We knew that they have a very good and well-coached team coming into tonight, but we worked very hard because we think that we also have a pretty good group of guys that any given night can come in and play to the best of their abilities and can compete in these types of games.
"Fortunately enough, we made a couple of free throws down the stretch and a couple of rebounds to secure the victory."
Trailing 61-57 with 10:08 remaining, Southern went on 12-0 spurt led by Trelun Banks, who scored eight points during a span of 4:09 that gave the Jaguars their largest lead at 69-61.
Southern led 72-64 with 2:38 remaining before Mississippi State responded with a rally after a pair of Craig Sword free throws followed by three-straight I.J. Ready free throws. After Christopher Hyder connected on 1-of-2 at the line, Ready's layup with 1:41 left trimmed the Jaguars lead to 74-72.
The Jaguars defense held the Bulldogs scoreless in Mississippi State's final four possession and freshman Malik Newman missed two free throws in the game's closing moments.
After a Ready miss, Rodgers secured the defensive rebound and feed sophomore Chris Thomas for an easy layup to give SU a 76-72 win.
Southern's defense pressured the Bulldogs backcourt for the entire game and forced 19 MSU turnovers.
“If you follow our team defensively, we’ve been known to be pretty good," Banks said. "We are always somewhere in the top 20 nationally in defensive percentage scoring and all that."
Banks added: "We wanted to make sure we zoned up and had trapping opportunities because [I.J. Ready] is a dominate ball handler and we wanted to wear him down. I think we were able to do that.”
Trelun Banks finished with a game high 18 points and made 7-of-10 free throws before fouling out. Senior Adrian Rodgers scored 16 points, making four 3-pointers. Jared Sam turned in a solid performance in the post with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
“It was a disappointing loss against a team that I was impressed with,” MSU coach Ben Howland said. “Credit to Southern for their toughness. They came at us and took it to us on our home floor. It is all about defense. That is the problem right now."
Southern returns to the captiol city to host in-state rival and American Conference member Tulane Thursday night in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Tickets for Thursday contest between the Jaguars and the Green Wave are available at the SU Ticket Office.