Late basket sinks Alcorn in SWAC opener

Published 8:27 am Tuesday, January 3, 2017

LORMAN (AP) — Jalan McCloud scored his only two points just before the final buzzer, lifting Texas Southern past Alcorn State 67-65 Monday night in the Southwestern Athletic Conference men’s basketball opener for both teams.

Zach Lofton led the Tigers with 23 points and Kevin Scott added 15.

In total, the game featured 10 lead changes and six ties. Neither team ever led by more than seven points.

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“I feel bad for my guys because we played so hard and deserved to win a ballgame, but it just didn’t end our way. If you’re looking at the stat sheet blind, not knowing which team is which then you probably would have thought we won,” Alcorn State coach Montez Robinson said. “Though, we’ll live to fight another day and that’s what conference play is all about. This game is now behind us and we have to be ready to play a good Prairie View A&M team on Wednesday.”

Lofton made a pair of free throws with 42 seconds left to give Texas Southern a 65-63 lead. Alcorn’s Marquis Vance tied it with a layup 20 seconds later.

Texas Southern (5-9, 1-0 SWAC) called timeout with 16 seconds left, and with two seconds on the clock, McCloud rebounded Demontrae Jefferson’s missed shot and laid it in for the win with eight-tenths of a second left.

“We should have finished this game out with a box-out. It’s one of the things we talk about at practice day-in and day-out, finish every play with a rebound. We didn’t do it, and it cost us a chance to go into overtime and win the game,” Robinson said.

Reginal Johnson scored 19 points and had nine rebounds for Alcorn State (3-9). It was his 11th consecutive game scoring in double figures, and he’s had at least five rebounds in every game this season.

Jackson State 63, Alabama A&M 51

Yettra Specks scored 24 points and Edric Dennis had 22 — each with three 3-pointers — as Jackson State (5-9, 1-0 SWAC) defeated Alabama A&M (0-12, 0-1).

The Tigers led 27-21 after a cold-shooting first half. They made eight field goals and Alabama A&M five. The Tigers found the range after the break, improving their shooting percentage from 31 to 48 percent.

Specks, who scored 17 points after halftime, and Dennis were the only two Jackson State players to score more than six points. The rest of the team combined for 17. The sophomore Dennis has scored in double figures in 11 of 14 games.

Matthew Cotton was the lone Alabama A&M player to reach double figures, with 10 points, as the Bulldogs shot 31 percent for the game. Ariston Johnson and De’Ederick Petty added nine points each.

UAPB 105, Miss. Valley State 91

Trent Steen scored 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting, Joe’Randle Toliver hit six 3-pointers, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff rallied to beat Mississippi Valley State and end a 12-game losing streak.

Charles Jackson scored 14 points, Jaquan Lynch added 13 with six steals, and Kennedy McKinney added 10 points for the Golden Lions (2-13, 1-0 SWAC), who handed the Delta Devils their 14th straight loss.
Trailing by three at halftime, UAPB rallied to a 45-44 lead on Steen’s jumper, but Isaac Williams made back-to-back 3-pointers and MVSU led 52-47.

McKinney’s layup sparked an 8-0 run that gave UAPB a 95-80 lead with 1:41 to go, and the Golden Lions held on.

Williams hit seven 3-pointers and finished with 23 points for the Delta Devils (0-14, 0-1), who made 12 of 18 shots from 3-point range.

Darrell Riley added 14 points and four assists, and Rashaan Surles scored 13 points. TaJay Henry had eight points and eight rebounds.