JSU wins “Battle of Tigers”
On Tuesday, three Jackson State players were named 1st team All-SWAC. The next day, with Jeremy Caldwell in early foul trouble, fellow first-teamers Darrion Griffin and Grant Maxey combined for 49 points as JSU outlasted Texas Southern 72-65 in the first round in the SWAC tournament..
“We know how to play close games,” said Jackson State head coach Tevester Anderson. “We played a lot of very tough teams in pre-conference. We learned to fight and that’s what we did tonight.”
With its dynamic duo leading the way, JSU pushed out to a 12 point lead with less than a minute left in the first half. But, with only a few seconds remaining, TSU sharpshooter Matthew Miller drained a long three pointer to cut the lead to 39-30.
Texas Southern, sensing the chance for an upset, locked down defensively and climbed back into the game as they started the second half by holding JSU without a field goal for more than nine minutes. TSU eventually cut the lead to one, before Griffin’s reverse lay-up pushed the lead to 49-46. TSU clawed back within one on another three pointer by Miller with just over eight minutes left. On the ensuing possession, Maxey knocked in a three of his own to push the lead back to four and Texas Southern could never get closer.
“They’re a nice team,” said TSU head coach Tony Harvey. “Griffin and Maxey, the shots they hit were daggers. Stars were stars for them.” For Jackson State (17-14), Maxey led all scorers with 26 points, while Griffin tallied 23.
Miller led TSU (7-25) with 21 points, while Ricky Boyles and Deandre Hill had 11 each.
Jackson State advances to Friday’s semifinals where they will face the winner of Prairie View-Mississippi Valley at noon.