Behind a strong second half, Texas Southern defeated Alcorn State 87-62 Saturday afternoon to claim their tenth SWAC Tournament.
TxSU lead for a majority of the first half, leading by as much as ten at 23-13 on a Jordan Gilliam made free throw with 11:10 remaining in the half, however the opening twenty minutes of play was a competitive one. It saw four ties and a pair of lead changes. A free throw from Joirdon Karl Nicholas that put the Tigers up 31-30 would give Texas Southern a lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the half. Alcorn would draw as close as two points on top separate occasions , a jumper from Oddyst Walker with 3:10 and a Josh Byron free-throw with 2:21 to go) but the Braves would trail by four at 42-38 at intermission.
Early in the second half, Texas Southern would build a nine point lead on a A.J. Lawson three-pointer and Nicholas slam dunk. Alcorn would battle back, trimming the deficit down to a deuce on a Level Henry three-pointer. Following a layup from Alcorn’s Justin Thomas to make the score 57-54 in favor of Texas Southern, with 12:19 remaining in the game, the Braves would enter a dry spell ( the shot a paltry 28% from the floor in the game) , not scoring a field goal for the next nearly five minutes of play. By the time Alcorn ended the drought on a layup from Thomas, the damage had been done as the Braves now found themselves in a 20-point hole at 78-58 and with only 6 minutes left in the game, time was now their adversary and Texas Souther would cruise to 87-62 victory.
John Walker III led the way for five Texas Southern players in double figures with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and a pair of blocks, P.J. Henry scored 15 points and 5 rebounds; A.J Lawson contributed 14 points and 4 assists, Jordan Karl Nicholas added 11 points and 8 boards and Brison Gresham chipped in 10 points. Justin Thomas was the only Brave to shoot 50% from the floor, paced Alcorn with 18 points and five rebounds.
Next up Texas Southern will find out their NCAA Tournament path Sunday.