Jackson State played inspired basketball in the SWAC Tournament opener, but in the end Texas Southern was too much to handle.
No. 2 seed Texas Southern survived a scare from no. 7 seed Jackson State to come away with a 54-50 win in Birmingham. It advances to the semifinal round where it will take on the winner between no. 6 seed Grambling State and no. 3 seed Southern University.
JSU took an eight point lead in the first half and held on to a 31-28 advantage at halftime. It managed to hold on to the lead until Texas Southern tied the game at 41. The two teams remained tight through much of the second half, with a JSU bucket leading to a 48-48 tie with 3:11 remaining.
Texas Southern outscored Jackson State 6-2 in the final three minutes to close out the game. It managed to win despite hitting less than 33 percent of its attempts for the game. John Walker III led the way with 14 points and six rebounds.
“I thought our guys came in and followed the game plan our coaches had for them,” Jackson State head coach Wayne Brent said in his final game as Jackson State head coach. “We wanted to control the tempo, and they did a heck of a job of that. We went into the half up 33-28. Once we got to the last four or five minutes, we wanted it to be a one or two-point game. We thought it was anybody’s ball game in the last four minutes.”
TxSU split the season series with both SWAC Louisiana schools this year. But it will have one day’s rest while its opponent will be playing back-to-back.