Alcorn’s Robinson is SWAC’s top coach

Published 11:26 pm Monday, March 6, 2017

Alcorn State’s men’s basketball team won’t be allowed to play in the NCAA Tournament this season, but that didn’t stop it from racking up some postseason honors from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Montez Robinson was named the SWAC’s men’s basketball Coach of the Year on Monday, while senior Marquis Vance earned first-team All-SWAC honors and Reginal Johnson was second-team All-SWAC.

Robinson is the first Alcorn coach to win the Coach of the Year award since Davey Whitney in 2002. Alcorn has two all-conference selections for the first time since 1999.

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Robinson has coached Alcorn to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2001-02 and 2002-03, and is 26-10 in the SWAC in his two years there — all despite working and recruiting against NCAA sanctions that have left the Braves ineligible for the NCAA Tournament.

Montez Robinson

Alcorn is 16-13 this season, 13-5 in conference play, and will still be allowed to play in the SWAC Tournament. It is the No. 2 seed and hosts Mississippi Valley State (7-24) Tuesday at 6 p.m. in a first-round game.

Vance, a senior forward from Tchula, was a first-team All-SWAC selection for the second time in his college career. He’s scored in double figures 19 times this season.

Vance averages 11.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He ranks top-five in the SWAC in both rebounding and blocks. Vance is also second on the team in assists.

Johnson, a forward from Monroe, Louisiana, is Alcorn’s leading scorer at 15.6 points per game. In his last 28 games, Johnson has scored in double figures 27 times. It included a pair of monster performances against Mississippi Valley State where he notched a career-high 28 points at home and 27 on the road.

Texas Southern’s Zach Lofton was named the SWAC’s Player of the Year. The junior guard is averaging a league-best 17.9 points per game. The transfer also won the Newcomer of the Year award.

Lofton’s selection marks the sixth consecutive season, and the seventh time in eight years, that Texas Southern has produced the SWAC’s player of the year.

Texas Southern (20-11) is the No. 1 seed in the SWAC Tournament and will host Alabama State in a first-round game Tuesday night. The first-round winners head to Houston for the semifinals and championship game Friday and Saturday.

Mississippi Valley State’s Marcus Romain was first-team All-SWAC and Jackson State’s Yettra Specks was on the second team.