Derrick Tezeno hit a pair of free throws in the final seconds and survived a Jeremiah Kendall potential game-winning shot at the buzzer as Southern beat Alcorn State 71-70 Saturday to stay atop the SWAC standings.
The Braves took an early 13-6 lead, but the Jaguars clawed their way back into the game, tying the contest at 22 on a pair of Brentay Noel free throws. Alcorn rebuilt their advantage to 35-26 with 6:11 left in the half.
Southern answered with a 9-0 spurt that tied the game at 35 on Tidjiance Dioumassi’a’s jumper at the 3:25 mark. Dioumassi’s layup would knot the contest once more at 37 apiece. However, turnovers and an offensive drought stunted the Jaguars’ effort to pull out in front, allowing Alcorn to take a 42-38 lead into halftime.
Alcorn took their first double-digit lead of the afternoon at 52-42 on a pair of Jeremiah Gambrell free throws with 14:14 left in the game. A 12-2 spurt from the Jaguars knotted the contest at 54. Back-to-back three-pointers on consecutive possessions by Southern’s Brandon Davis tied the game at 57 and 60 apiece. Southern took their first lead at 61-60 on a Noel free throw.
Another Davis three-pointer extended the Southern advantage to 64-60 with 5:29 left in the contest. A three-point play on a jumper from Jeremiah Kendall pushed Alcorn back in front at 67-66. A pair of Kendall free throws pushed the Braves out in front 69-66 with under a minute left.
Dioumassi’s three-pointer tied the game at 69 with just 45 seconds left in the game. He then fouled Kendall, sending the Alcorn forward to the line with under 30 seconds to go. Kendall split the pair, putting the Braves up 70-69 with 23 seconds to go.
Tezeno was fouled on the ensuing possession, sending him to the line with just 10 seconds in the game. He converted both free throws.
Brandon Davis led four Southern players in double figures with 16 points. Tidjiane Dioumassi and Tai’Reon Joseph each scored 15, while Derrick Tezeno added 10 points.
In a losing effort, Kendall led three Braves in double figures with 19 points and added six rebounds. Jeremiah Gambrell added 16 points, and Jalen Hawkins chipped in with 13 points.
The win lifts Southern to 12-9 overall and 6-2 in the SWAC, tying them with Grambling atop the SWAC.