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Banks insists he wasn't trying to humiliate Champion Baptist College when his Division I program, located in Baton Rouge, La., rolled to a 116-12 victory Dec. 30. Nor did he purposely schedule an opponent from the Association of Christian College Athletics seeking an easy win.
Banks said it only appeared that way.
"The problem is we got a lot of attention with that game. It was blown out of proportion. It wasn't a game we wanted to blow anyone out," Banks said. "It wasn't like we ran and pressed for 40 minutes. We weren't trying to humiliate anybody."
Champion Baptist College trailed 44-0 and made only 3 of 44 field-goal attempts.
Banks explained the blowout was part of a two-game series with Champion Baptist, located in Hot Springs, Ark. Southern won last season's meeting, 90-36. In an effort to show no ill-will exists between the programs following Southern's 104-point rout, Banks said they will meet again next season.
Still, the margin of victory created ripples across the country, with media outlets highlighting two basketball programs that normally receive little attention. For sheer domination, it surpasses the previous all-divisions record set by Seton Hall, which scored the first 34 points against Kean College on Nov. 19, 1998.
Banks said schools such as Southern, a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, can be victims of their own success. Last season, Southern nearly became the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament when it dropped a 64-58 decision to Gonzaga.
Southern's near upset of Gonzaga, coupled with the Jaguars' 53-51 regular-season win at Texas A&M, made it difficult to schedule games against the level of Division I opponents they normally face, Banks said.
Instead, the Jaguars played road games this season against top-ranked Arizona, Baylor, Florida, Marquette and Louisiana Tech, raising about $500,000 for their athletic department. They faced Arizona and Baylor during a four-day period.
"We're asked to help shortfalls in our athletic budget," Banks said. "We're a fundraising mechanism. We don't want to play the Arizonas and the Baylors all the time, but after last year, those are the teams that scheduled us. Not only did we almost beat Gonzaga, we beat Texas A&M at Texas A&M. Top 20 and top 30 teams stay away from that."
Southern faced Champion Baptist needing a solid performance before the start of league play. The Jaguars opened Saturday at Prairie View A&M, which they defeated in the SWAC championship game, followed by a road game two days later against Texas Southern, which recently upset Temple.
"e;High majors pay us to come play them so they can get themselves together,"e; Banks said. "e;High majors play us, and we play Division II, Division III and NAIA schools. We played Champion Baptist last year, and they gave us a legitimate game. We played good defense and held Arizona under its scoring average, but we still lost by 26 points.
"e;You want your team to have confidence with our league opener coming up. We weren't trying to set any records. After the first seven minutes in the second half, we played zone and ran as many sets as possible. They missed shots, we grabbed the rebounds and scored at the other end. The shot clock is 35 seconds. You can only stall so much."e;
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JHarris_Trib.