Prairie View A&M (14-18) vs. Jackson State (11-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 15, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Curtis Culwell Center (7,000) -- Garland, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: PVAMU 9-4, JSU 6-3. Away Record: PVAMU 3-13, JSU 4-14. Neutral Record: PVAMU 2-1, JSU 1-0. Conference Record: PVAMU 8-10, JSU 9-9. Series Record: Jackson State leads, 55-16.
GAMES NOTES: With a spot in the title game on the line the fourth-seed Prairie View A&M Panthers and the second-seed Jackson State Tigers will square off in the semifinals of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament at the Culwell Center.
The winner of this contest will move to Saturday's title game to do battle with either Southern or Alabama A&M.
Prairie View had five players in double figures, two of which dropped double- doubles, in a real team effort win over Alcorn State in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The Panthers had been set down in each of their previous two games and are still sporting a record below .500 overall this season (14-18). Other than Grambling State, which has never won a league title, the Panthers have the longest drought between crowns with their last in 1998.
Jackson State has saved its best basketball for the end of the regular season as a 66-59 win over Alabama State in the first round was its 10th win in the last 13 games. The Tigers had just a single victory before that and enter this contest at just 11-17 overall, though they did split their 18 league contests. Jackson State managed to secure the No. 2 seed because of NCAA sanctions keeping Texas Southern, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Mississippi Valley State out.
There has not been a whole lot of parity between these teams historically with Jackson State holding a 55-16 edge in the all-time series. However this season the teams split their two matchups with the home team coming out ahead each time.
Carl Blair scored 14 points, while Montrael Scott (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Jules Montgomery (11 points, 12 rebounds) each put forth solid efforts for Prairie View A&M in the quarterfinals. The Panthers were also strong on the defensive end as they held Alcorn State to 35.4 percent shooting, while forcing 18 turnovers.
Yet again the Panthers also had an edge on the boards (31-23) which has been the calling card for them all season. Prairie View is fourth in the country in rebounds (40.5 pg). Part of that is the poor shooting the Panthers have suffered with this season as they net just 39.6 percent of their shots from the field and score 64 points per game. Jourdan DeMuynck (15.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is the only consistent double-figure scorer on the roster but one of five players shooting below 40 percent from the field. Blair (9.7 ppg, 4.7 apg) also struggles to consistently hit shots as the second best option.
Though they shot at just a 36.5 percent clip from the field, the Tigers were able to get past Alabama State by outscoring the Hornets from 3-point range (15-6) and from the free-throw line (23-11). Christian Williams came up big in the contest, knocking down three shots from beyond the arc and scoring a game- high 22 points.
Poor shooting has been an issue for Jackson State all season. The Tigers connect on just 38.8 percent of their shots from the floor, while assisting on only 9.2 field goals a contest. On defense the Tigers are letting up more than 70 points per game, allowing teams to shoot just under 45 percent from the floor. Williams (14.0 ppg) isn't an efficient scorer but he is one of the best on the roster for the Tigers. The 6-foot-1 guard shoots 38 percent from the field. Kelsey Howard (14.4 ppg) is the leading offensive option. Dundrecous Nelson (13.6 ppg) missed six of the last seven games of the season but did return against Alabama State, scoring two points in four minutes.
With a more diverse set of scoring options the Tigers have the advantage in this contest and should keep on playing into Saturday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Jackson State 68, Prairie View A&M 60
03/15 11:26:34 ET