Jackson State 74, Mississippi Valley State 68
HOUSTON – Jackson State will make its first appearance in the SWAC Tournament Championship game since 2009 following a 74-68 win over rival Mississippi Valley State in a sem-final contest Friday afternoon in Houston’s Toyota Center.
On Thursday, JSU gave Wayne Brent his very first win in the conference tournament since taking over as head coach three years ago.
Yettra Specks paced JSU with 20 points which included a trio of three pointers and four assists. Gator Worsham poured in 11 points and 15 rebounds while Kaven Bernard added a double-double of his own with 10 points and 11 boards. JSU led for 33:46 of the game and created its biggest lead of 12 points with 2:43 left after a Dontaveon Robisnon jumper.
MVSU had only won six games all season, but won twice in the tournament including a three-point upset of No.2 seed Alcorn State. The Delta Devils were led by Marcus Romain with 19 points. Isaac Williams chipped in 15.
Southern 81, Texas Southern 73
In a rematch of last year’s SWAC Tournament Final, Southern prevailed over defending champion Texas Southern 81-73 Friday night at the Toyota Center.
The game saw fast starts by both sides. Trelun Banks and Adrian Rodgers accounted for 21 points during a 25-4 run by the Jaguars to open the game. Southern eventually pushed its advantage to as many as 24.
Thanks to a spark off the bench by Jose Rodriguez and Brian Carey, Texas Southern would lessen the gap over the second half of the first stanza. The Tigers ended up outscoring Southern 28-19 to head into the half down 44-32.
The second half was a role reversal, as TXSO started quickly out of the gate. Malcolm Riley drained consecutive threes to cap a 15-2 run that handed the top-seeded Tigers their first lead of the game with 15:58 to go. The teams traded baskets but the Jaguars eventually wrestled control of the contest for good, as Texas Southern got no closer than eight.
Five Southern players scored in double figures, with Banks leading the way with 19 points. Christopher Hyder netted 16 points to go with five rebounds, five assist and six steals. Rodgers added 16, and Jared Same and Shawn Prudhomme each scored 16.
Riley led all players with 24 points and seven boards. Chris Thomas added 15. Player of the Year Derrick Griffin accounted for nine points and nine rebounds.
Southern will face Jackson State for the SWAC Tournament Championship at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.