Southern men put it together in routing Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Southern men’s basketball coach Sean Woods didn’t remember the last time the Jaguars put together two halves of basketball the way they did against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday, but it’s been a while.

Behind strong play at both ends of the floor, Southern took control midway through the first half and turned it on to rout the Golden Lions 88-53 at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

For Southern (2-4, 2-0 SWAC), the win was its 10th consecutive conference win at home. The margin of victory was the Jaguars’ largest in the Southwestern Athletic Conference since a 104-54 win over Grambling on Feb. 8, 2014.

Southern had a 20-15 lead midway through the first half and outscored Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3-9, 2-1) 25-9 to take a 45-24 halftime lead. The Jaguars quickly stretched the lead to 56-27 in the second half, and led by 30 points or more the rest of the way.

Harrison Henderson scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Southern. Samkelo Cele made four of Southern’s 11 3-pointers to finish with 12 points. Ashante Shivers had an all-around game with 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Woods said the Jaguars, who had three of their first four SWAC games postponed, are only beginning to play their best basketball.

“We did the best we could with what we’ve got,” he said. “The good thing is when you’re deep and you have so many veterans coming back it gives you a chance more than other teams. We just had to stay in shape and stay away from injury.”

Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored more than 90 points in each of its first two SWAC games. Against Southern, the Golden Lions only made six field goals each half, and finished 12 of 46 (26%) from the field.

Shaun Doss led UAPB with 18 points while Joshuwan Johnson made 11 of 11 free throws and scored 16.

In the first half, Southern made 1 of 5 shots, and trailed 9-8. Cele came off the bench, and immediately connected on two 3-pointers to get the Jaguars started on a 21-6 run.

The teams traded baskets until Henderson’s 3-pointer gave Southern a 40-23 lead with two minutes left before halftime. Ashante Shivers added a 3-pointer from the right wing, and the Jaguars took a 45-24 lead into the locker room.

There were more first-half highlights for Southern.

With 16 points and 10 rebounds, Henderson already had a double-double. Working in the paint and outside the arc, he made two of Southern’s six 3-pointers in the half.

After its slow start, Southern finished the half having made 12 of 23 shots. Defensively, Southern held Arkansas-Pine Bluff to two field goals in the last 10 minutes of the half.

Southern returns to action Monday when it hosts Mississippi Valley State at 4:30 p.m.

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