HOUSTON—Texas Southern opened the 2020 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) play with a hard fought win against Southern University as they defeated the Jaguars 77-68.
The first half of the game was a constant battle between both teams with a combined 17 lead changes, with the game tied at 19, until Jordan Andrews scored five consecutive points to extend the lead to 24-19 with 8:55 left in the quarter.
SU’s Ashonte Shivers answered with a three-pointer, but Chris Baldwin and John Jones upped TSU’s lead back to six at 28-22 with a pair of baskets.
Then, SU went on an 8-1 run to regain a 30-29 advantage, but TSU would later respond as they outscored the Jaguars 11-5 over the next two minutes to lead 40-34 with 1:16 remaining; then, Shivers nailed a three-pointer with 15 seconds left to close out the half with TSU leading 40-37.
In the second half, the Tigers opened the quarter in early foul trouble as the Jaguars was in the bonus at the charity strip within the first eight minutes of the half.
During that span, Southern chipped away and regained a 50-48 lead outscoring the Tigers 13-5 as TSU piled numerous bricks from the field shooting 3-of-15 and committing three turnovers.
Down 55-52 with around 10 minutes left in the game, the Tigers used their defensive presence in the paint with a big block by Eden Ewing and a big offensive rebound by Baldwin that lead to three-point play by Ewing, tying the game at 55-55 with 9:58 remaining.
Further, TSU handed the momentum back to SU with three Tiger turnovers as the Jaguars went on a 6-0 run to lead 61-55.
Sensing the game slipping away, the Tigers responded with their backs against the wall as Baldwin hit a basket to draw within 61-57 followed by an SU charging foul.
Tyrik Armstrong was fouled on the next play, hitting two free throws following a huge three-pointer made by Jones to regain a 62-61 lead with 6:23 left.
Southern’s Montese Blake answered with a three of his own to regain the lead but Justin Hopkins drove to the basket and responded with three-point play for a 67-64 TSU lead.
From then on, the Tigers took advantage of the situation and expanded their lead to 71-64 after a layup by Ewing.
Southern tried to keep the game in reach at 72-68 with 2:40 left, but Ewing took over the game himself as he scored the final five points while SU went scoreless the remainder of the way.
Four Tigers scored in double figures as Hopkins led the way with 15 points. Armstrong and Ewing both added 14 points while Baldwin scored 10. Baldwin and Yahuza Rasas tied for the team lead with nine rebounds while Armstrong dished out eight assists.
TSU faces off against Alcorn State Monday night at 7:30 p.m. in the H&PE Arena.