With a game on Friday against top-ranked Dunbar, it would have been easy for Southern to look past visiting Loyola yesterday.
But the No. 2 Bulldogs made sure they finished things at hand, defeating the No. 10 Dons, 76-44, in a Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Division II game.
Southern improved to 10-3 overall and to 6-1 in the division, taking over first place with the loss by previously undefeated Cardinal Gibbons to Lake Clifton yesterday.
Junior forward Kwame Evans led all scorers with 16 points, adding nine rebounds and six assists. John Salley scored 14 and had 12 rebounds, and Derrick Watkins added 12.
"We had a good performance all around," said Evans, who also had six steals and six blocked shots. "I'm real pleased that I was able to contribute on the defensive side, as well as on offense. The main thing is to play hard, because we have nothing to lose."
Friday, the Bulldogs play host to the Poets in an interdivisional matchup. It will also be a rematch of last season's MSA A Conference championship game, which Southern won.
Leading, 11-7, after the first quarter yesterday, Southern increased its lead to 29-18 at the half, outscoring Loyola (10-9, 1-5), 18-11. Salley and Che Evans (nine points, 12 rebounds) combined to score 10 of the Bulldogs' 18 points.
With a 10-4 run to open the second half, the Bulldogs lead grew to 39-22 with 4 minutes, 3 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Watkins highlighted the spree with a pair of alley-oop dunks off passes by David Cason.
After the Greyhounds pulled to within 49-35, Southern put the game out of reach as Kwame Evans followed a pair of three-pointers with a steal and dunk, to lead, 57-36, with 5:34 left in the game.
"We don't overlook any team," said Cason, who had 12 assists. "We take it one game at a time. . . . We tried to play well to make a statement and gain momentum."
Steve Kraning led Loyola with 11 points, and Dan Donovan added 10.