Southern basketball teams look to stay undefeated in SWAC play during Florida swing | From South

As the Southern men’s basketball team hits the road for the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s new Florida swing, Jaguars coach Sean Woods hopes to keep his team poised.

“We just have to do the same things that we did. We have to keep fighting,” Woods said of the road trip that includes visits to freshman members of SWAC, Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman. “Both like to hit the offensive glass. They are two (former) MEAC teams, so their style of play is a bit different from SWAC. We are going to play at their house, so it will be interesting.

Southern (7-7, 2-0 SWAC) will visit Florida A&M (2-10, 0-1) in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday. The women’s game will start at 1 p.m. while the men’s game will start approximately 30 minutes after the end of the first game.

On Monday, the stage shifts to Daytona Beach, Fla., where the Jaguars take on Bethune-Cookman (3-10, 1-0). That day’s SWAC doubleheader will begin at 4:30 p.m.

Southern opened the championship last Saturday with a 63-50 win at home against Texas Southern, SWAC’s preseason pick to win the title. The Jaguars earned their second win without lacing their sneakers when Prairie View lost on Monday due to COVID protocols.

Southern and Alabama A&M top the SWAC standings, each at 2-0, while the Jaguars’ overall rating of 7-7 is the best in the league.

Bethune-Cookman defeated Florida A&M 66-59 in the SWAC opener for both schools last Saturday.

If Southern continues to do what it has already done well, the Jaguars will fill their stat sheet with steals and forced turnovers. Against Texas Southern, the Jaguars had 14 interceptions and forced 25 turnovers.

Tyrone Lyons leads Southern in scoring with 14.2 points per game, and sixth man Brion Whitley (12.6) and Jayden Saddler (10.8) are also averaging double digits. Whitley leads the SWAC in 3-point percentage (43.0) while Saddler and PJ Byrd are among the league’s top assists.

FAMU’s MJ Randolph leads SWAC with 19.0 ppg. He is also among the league leaders in assists and steals. DJ Jones leads the Rattlers in rebounding at 5.0 per game.

For Bethune-Cookman, Joe French scores 13.6 points and Dylan Robertson averages 5.1 rebounds.

Southern women also in first

The Southern Women (4-9, 2-0) enter Week 2 of conference play tied with Alabama A&M and Alabama State at the top of the SWAC standings.

On Saturday, they will face Florida A&M (1-11, 1-0), who got a shot from Maleaha Bell to beat Bethune-Cookman 70-68 in their SWAC opener. Bethune-Cookman (2-9, 0-1) hosts Grambling Saturday before Southern visits Monday.

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