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Alabama State (19-11) vs. Texas Southern (17-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 14, 3:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Toyota Center (18,043) -- Houston, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Alabama State 13-1, Texas Southern 9-2. Away Record: Alabama State 5-9, Texas Southern 7-12. Neutral Record: Alabama State 1-1, Texas Southern 0-0. Conference Record: Alabama State 12-6, Texas Southern 12-6. Series Record: leads, -.
GAME NOTES: The Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal round kicks off with a matchup between the third-seeded Alabama State Hornets and the second-seeded Texas Southern Tigers at Toyota Center in Houston.
The winner of this contest will be the first to advance into the SWAC Tournament's championship game against either Prairie View or Alabama A&M. The winner of the conference tournament gets an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
With the third seed, Alabama State was able to advance immediately to the quarterfinal round of the tournament with a bye. The Hornets took down Alcorn State Thursday, 64-51, to push their way into the semifinals where they'll meet Texas Southern.
Texas Southern had a rocky start to the season, but ended the regular-season schedule as one of the hottest teams in the conference on six consecutive wins. The Tigers cruised past Grambling State in the SWAC quarterfinals with a 79-54 thrashing Wednesday.
The Hornets and Tigers met twice this season on the court. Alabama State took the first head-to-head meeting with an overtime win, then lost to Texas Southern on the road, 86-66, on March 1 for the season split.
Alcorn State gave Alabama State fits in the first half of Thursday's quarterfinal round, and the Braves took a 24-22 lead into the locker rooms at the half. But the Hornets exploded in the second period with 42 points, hitting 59.3 percent of their shot attempts from the floor to come back for the win with their season on the line. Jamel Waters scored a team-high 16 points in the victory, while Luther Page tallied a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Tony Armstrong and DeMarcus Robinson each netted 10 points for the Hornets. Waters enters the game with Texas Southern averaging 14.2 ppg to pace the team, followed by Robinson's 11.9 ppg. Waters also tops the squad with 182 assists on the year and 54 steals to his name. The Hornets average 71.8 ppg and give up 69.4 ppg to opponents.
Texas Southern didn't have much trouble taking care of Grambling State in the SWAC quarterfinal round Wednesday. The Tigers jumped ahead, 32-19, at the end of the first half, and extended that advantage by another 12 points by the time the final buzzer sounded. Aaric Murray scored 18 points to pace Texas Southern, blocking six shots in the process. Murray came into the SWAC Tournament averaging 21.2 ppg, adding a team-leading 7.8 rpg mark. Madarious Gibbs chipped in 15 points in the victory, and DeAngelo Scott netted 13 points. D.D. Scarver was second on the Tigers in scoring during the regular season with 14.5 ppg, and Jose Rodriguez added 11.5 ppg during the season.
Alabama State has won four straight games heading into its matchup with Texas Southern. It will be a tough fight for survival for the Hornets, who were beaten by 20 points in their last outing with the Tigers. The up-tempo pace for Texas Southern could overwhelm Alabama State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas Southern 74, Alabama State 69
03/14 10:35:34 ET