SWAC Men’s Basketball Tournament Semifinal Recaps

From swac.org :

Prairie View A&M 81, Grambling State 71
Texas Southern 80, Alabama State 66

Panthers hold off Grambling State, advance to tournament finals

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Top-seeded Prairie View A&M prevailed 81-71 over No. 4 seed Grambling State Friday afternoon to advance to the 2019 Toyota SWAC Basketball Tournament finals at Bill Harris Arena.

Devonte Patterson scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Panthers (21-12). Gary Blackston added 18 points and five rebounds, and Darius Williams scored 16 points.

Ivy Smith led Grambling State with 21 points and seven assists.

Prairie View A&M took control early on behind Patterson, who scored nine points within the first five minutes of play to power the Panthers to an 11-5 lead. Grambling State (17-16) stayed in striking distance, however, as Anthony Gaston and Smith pushed the Tigers to within one.

Defense proceeded to rule the final five minutes of the first half, as neither side managed a bucket until Grambling State’s Nigel Riberio was fouled as he knocked down a jumper with 2:41 left in the stanza. Riberio converted the three-point play to give the Tigers their first lead of the game.

Patterson responded with a jumper in the lane for the Panthers and followed with a perfect trip to the free-throw line to put PVAMU ahead 27-24 going into the break.

Prairie View A&M pushed its lead to 40-32, but Smith helped key a 12-2 run that was capped with an Axel Mpoyo three, as the Tigers surged ahead 45-42 with 9:24 left.

After free throws by Patterson and a 1-for-2 trip to the line by Prairie View A&M’s Dennis Jones tied the game at 45, Jones put the Panthers back in front with a drive to the hoop. Darius Williams then nailed a trey to push PVAMU ahead 50-45 with 8:09 left.

The sides traded baskets from that point, with Grambling State unable to make up ground as time ticked away. The Panthers’ free-throw shooting down the stretch ultimately held the Tigers at bay, as the No. 1 seed clinched its spot in the tournament championship.

Combs puts up big numbers as Texas Southern downs Alabama State

Behind a huge game from 2018-19 Player of the Year Jeremy Combs, Texas Southern (21-12) advanced to the 2019 Toyota SWAC Basketball Tournament championship with an 80-66 victory over Alabama State Friday evening at Bill Harris Arena.

The Hornets (12-19) came out of the gate aggressively to open the game, as Leon Daniels keyed a 9-2 start to the contest for the No. 6 seed. The Tigers regrouped behind 2018-19 SWAC Player of the Year Jeremy Combs, who converted twice from close range to start a Texas Southern comeback.

Jalyn Patterson knocked down a three-pointer to give TSU its first lead of the game, and the sides traded baskets briefly before Combs again sparked a Texas Southern surge, scoring twice during an 11-3 run that pushed the Tigers’ lead to eight.

Texas Southern stayed ahead of the Hornets through the rest of the first half, and Combs opened the second half with seven points over the first 2:30 of the period, extending the Tigers’ advantage to 17.

Daniels knocked down a trey for Alabama State’s first points of the second half, but the Tigers maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the second half.

The Hornets made a late charge, getting the deficit down to seven with 1:30 left in the game thanks to a 6-0 run, but Jalyn Patterson converted a three-point play to push the Tigers’ advantage back to 10. Texas Southern cruised from there.

Interior scoring was a considerable factor for the Tigers, who scored 46 points in the paint on their way to the victory. Combs led with 28 points and 18 rebounds. Trayvon Reed added 15 points, Tyrik Armstrong added 11, and Patterson scored 10.

Daniels led the Hornets with 24 points and 13 rebounds. AJ Farrar contributed 14 points, and Tobi Ewuosho and Fausto Pichardo each netted 11 points.

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