MBB Championship Preview
Houston, TX – One team is coming in red hot, winners of eight straight and will be seeking its third tournament championship in the previous four seasons under the same head coaches’ tutelage.
The other will be seeking its first tournament championship since the 2002 season under the guise of the conference Coach of the Year in just his second season at the helm.
That’s what will be on the line when top-seeded Texas Southern (22-11) takes on No. 2 seed Alcorn State (18-13) for the title on Saturday at 5:15 p.m.
The game can be seen on ESPNU.
Live stats can be followed here: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=169517
Despite the recent history, the teams have run nearly neck-and-neck on a historical basis with the Braves claiming seven tournament championships and the Tigers hoisting six tournament trophies.
Texas Southern reached this point with a 62-57 win over No. 5 Grambling State on Friday.
Junior guard Jalan McCloud shot 6-of-9 from the field to score 17 points, SWAC Freshman of the Year Demontrae Jefferson added 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals as Texas Southern withstood a Grambling surge to respond back with a critical 12-1 run of their own over a five minute and 30 second span in the second half at the Toyota Center.
Alcorn State advanced behind a balanced attack. Four Alcorn State players scored in double figures, the defense held the Jaguars to just 37 percent shooting as the Braves rolled to a convincing 81-59 victory against No. 3 seed Southern at the Toyota Center on Friday.
The Braves (18-13) jumped out ahead by 10 by halftime and then used a 13-0 run early in the second half to extend the lead to 22 with 14:44 remaining in the game.
Reginal Johnson went for a double-double with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting with 10 rebounds while Marquis Vance finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, one block and one steal.
In the teams two head-to-head meetings this season, TSU has won both. However, it has not come easy.
For Texas Southern, SWAC Player of the Year Zach Lofton has excelled in the match ups against Alcorn State this season, scoring 30 points and grabbing seven rebounds in their recent 94-88 overtime victory against the Braves in Houston on March 2 and also put up 23 points in the earlier meeting in a 67-65 win in Lorman, Ms.
Other players to watch
TSU’s Kevin Scott produced 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the prior meeting. Scott also had 15 points and eight rebounds in the earlier meeting.
For Alcorn State, Johnson scored 19 points in the earlier meeting.