GARLAND, Texas.—Phillip Crawford scored 18 points and Denzell McDaniel added 14, but it was not enough as Alabama State fell 66-59 to Jackson State at the SWAC Basketball tournament.
It was a season-long problem that hurt the Hornets and that was free throw shooting. ASU only connected on 11 of their 20 free throw attempts while JSU hit 23 of their 27 attempts.
“We just needed to hit our free throws,” Head Coach Lewis Jackson said. “When you get to the free throw line in tournament play you have to make those count and we just did not do that today. They went to the line and made almost everyone and in these types of games you have to step up there with confidence and make things happen.”
The Hornets defense kept them in the game. JSU did not score a field goal in the final 6:05 of the game, but hit eight out of nine free throws to keep the Hornets at arm’s length.
Joining Crawford and McDaniel in double digit scoring was Joshua Freelove who finished with 11 points. ASU was out rebounded 40-35. Bobby Brown came off the bench for the Hornets to grab a game-high 11 rebounds.
ASU trailed 54-43 with 8:42 seconds left but began to chip into the lead starting with a Shawntez Patterson three. The Hornets cut the lead to four with 48 seconds left and got a turnover, but could not do any further damage as Jamel Waters missed a three point shot with 36 seconds left in the game. ASU would cut the lead to 62-59 with 18 seconds left, but Christian Williams made four consecutive free throws for JSU.
Williams had a game-high 22 points in the win and Jeff Stubbs came off the bench to score 18.
ASU out shot JSU 41 percent to 37 percent, but along with the 12 point differential in free throws, the Tigers were able to knock down five three’s, while the Hornets only hit two.
ASU held a slim 31-30 halftime lead as Crawford and McDaniel led the way with nine points each. ASU shot 45 percent from the field but could only connect on only one of their eight three point attempts and also struggled at the free throw line only hitting four of nine attempts.
Williams scored 11 and Stubbs came off the bench to add 10. JSU only shot 33 percent from the field in the opening half, but hit four of their 11 three point attempts and was deadly at the free throw line knocking down 10 of 13.
“My hat is off to the guys they really played hard,” Jackson said. “We just did not get the production at the free throw line and Jackson State did.”
ASU’s season ends with a 10-22 record, while the Tigers move to 11-17 overall.
Below are post game comments from ASU head coach Lewis Jackson and some of his players.