Sept. 10, 2016
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech hosts Southern University in the first meeting between the two teams since 1993 on Nov. 14 at McCamish Pavilion. This is the second in a series of previews of the Yellow Jackets’ non-conference opponents.
Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Conference: Southwestern Athletic
Home arena: F.G. Clark Center (7,500)
2015-16 Record: 22-13 overall, 11-7 in SWAC (4th), 197th in NCAA RPI
Post-Season: lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Holy Cross, 59-55.
All-time series record: Southern leads 1-0 (only meeting on 3/19/93 in NCAA Tournament)
Head coach: Roman Banks (entering 6th season, 99-67)
Starters returning/lost: 3/2
Top scorer returning: Trelun Banks (11.4)
Top rebounder returning: Jared Sam (6.3)
Quick preview for 2016-17
The Jaguars lost two key pieces in the backcourt entering the 2016-17 season in Adrian Rodgers and Christopher Hyder. Rodgers averaged a team-best 16.6 points per game while Hyder led the Jaguars in assists, steals and minutes. However, Southern does return the reigning SWAC Tournament MVP in Trelun Banks. The head coach’s son scored 19 points in the SWAC Championship game leading his father’s squad to its third conference crown in the last five seasons. Rashad Andrews and D’Adrian Allen also return, each of whom started at least 14 games. Quick recap of 2015-16
In 2015-16, Southern University made its second NCAA Tournament appearance under head coach Roman Banks. The Jaguars seized the SWAC’s automatic berth with a three-game run through the conference tournament. The tournament’s defining moment came from the team’s leading scorer, Adrian Rodgers, who hit a go-ahead jumper to lift Southern over Jackson State, 54-53. In Southern’s ninth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, the Jaguars fell to Holy Cross in one of four opening games, 59-55. The final 22-13 record signaled the second 20-win campaign in the last four seasons for Southern.
Greatest program accomplishment
1993 NCAA Tournament victory – Southern University’s biggest victory in program history came against none other than their opponent this fall, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. In an opening round matchup featuring the ACC Champion and fourth-seeded Georgia Tech against the 13th-seeded Southern Jaguars, David bested Goliath, 93-78. The Jaguars, SWAC champions that year and coaches by former Bobby Cremins assistant Ben Jobe, were 0-5 in NCAA Tournament play when they took the floor in Tucson, but two hours later, the Jaguars left the hardwood with the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory firmly in hand. Jervaughn Scales led the Gold and Columbia Blue to victory with 27 points and 18 boards. The Yellow Jackets, their own worst enemy with 23 turnovers, were outscored 54-34 in the second half. Southern fell to George Washington two days later to end any hope of a deep postseason run. The Jaguars’ nine NCAA Tournament trips are still the most of any SWAC team, but their 1993 upset remains their only tourney victory.
Greatest player in program history
Avery Johnson – Avery Johnson is a household name across the global basketball community. He’s won an NBA title, an NBA Coach of the Year Award and is presently the head coach at Alabama. But before Johnson reached star status, he played at Southern University. After transferring from a small NAIA school in Oklahoma, it didn’t take long for Johnson to wow his Jaguar teammates in practice leading up the 1985-86 season. Johnson led the Jaguars to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 1987 and 1988 while scribing his name in the record books along the way. As a senior, Johnson averaged NCAA-record 13.3 assists per game, including a 22-dime night against Texas Southern (also an NCAA-record). In 2013, the floor at F.G. Clark Center was named in Johnson’s honor. Just this past summer Johnson pitched in to help with flood relief efforts in Baton Rouge by sending an 18-wheeler filled with water, soap, towels and clothes to the Clark Center.
Place to visit on campus or in the city
USS Kidd Veterans Museum – The USS Kidd was the 661st destroyer battleship constructed by the U.S. Navy and was named after Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr., who lost his life in the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Today the USS Kidd resides on the banks of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, La. The ship is the centerpiece to a comprehensive memorial museum that includes aircraft exhibits, authentic artifacts from the raid of Normandy beach and much more. The USS Kidd Veterans Museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.