HOUSTON — Chris Thomas and Malcolm Riley each scored 23 points as top-seeded Texas Southern cruised past No. 4 seed Prairie View A&M 90-77 Friday night and advanced to the Southwestern Conference tournament championship game, where the Tigers will face Southern.
More importantly, the semifinal-round win allows Texas Southern to claim the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, regardless of the result of Saturday’s conference championship game.
Southern, which beat Alabama State in the other semifinal, is ineligible for the NCAA postseason. It will be the second straight trip to the NCAA tournament for the Tigers, who now have won 11 straight.
Texas Southern (21-12) built a 12-point lead, 41-29 with three minutes left in the first half but did not score again in the half and Prairie View cut the lead to eight by intermission.
Thomas hit a jumper 11 seconds into the second half and Deverell Biggs knocked down a three pointer and the Tigers pushed the lead back to double digits, where it stayed for the final 18 minutes.
Saturday marks the second straight season that TSU is playing in the championship game of the tournament finals. It is also the third straight season that a school from the state of Texas has made it to the final round. Prairie View played for it all in 2013 and 2014.
Courtesy: TSU Athletics