Mississippi Valley State wins SWAC title
Garland, TX (Sports Network) - Kevin Burwell poured in 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting as Mississippi Valley State survived a second-half rally to top Texas Southern, 71-69 and capture the SWAC title on Saturday.
Brent Arrington added 12 points and William Pugh donated 10 points off the bench for the Delta Devils (21-12), who punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Cor-J Cox contributed nine points and eight rebounds in the victory for Mississippi Valley State.
Omar Strong drained eight three-pointers en route to a game-high 30 points to go with five rebounds and three assists, while Dexter Ellington added 10 points. Aaron Clayborn collected 10 rebounds in the loss for the Tigers (15-18).
Texas Southern coach Tony Harvey said the players on his team shouldn't hang their heads.
"The outcome of the game was not what we wanted but we never stopped fighting, and we will learn from that," he said. "I'm proud of my guys from that standpoint."
Trailing, 63-47, with just over 4 1/2 minutes to play, Texas Southern mounted a furious comeback, using a 16-4 flurry to get within three, 67-64, with under a minute to play.
Strong netted nine points during the run and Madarious Gibbs capped it with a pair of free throws.
Arrington nailed a huge three with 21 seconds left to put the Delta Devils up six, but Ellington answered with a layup to make it 70-66 with four seconds to go.
Cox made 1-of-2 from the line with two seconds left to make it a five point game and Strong drained a three with one second to go to account for the final margin.
Mississippi Valley State got off to a hot start with a 10-3 run to begin the contest, but Texas Southern responded with a 6-1 flurry of its own to make it a two-point game with under 13 minutes to go in the first half.
Burwell buried a three-pointer to make it 14-9, but Strong put in three free throws to bring Texas Southern to within two again at 14-12 with 11 1/2 minutes left in the half.
Amos Studivant put home a layup to spark the Delta Devils on a 12-5 spurt to close the first half leading 26-17.
Mississippi Valley State opened the second half with a 9-5 push to extend the lead to 35-22 with just over five minutes gone.
The Delta Devils kept coming and a trey by Pugh gave Mississippi Valley State its largest lead of the night at 55-35.
Texas Southern answered with an 11-2 run of its own to shave the deficit down to 11 with 5:49 left.
Terrence Joyner connected on a three to put the Delta Devils up 60-46 and Arrington made two free throws shortly after to make it 63-47 in favor of Mississippi Valley State.
Mississippi Valley State shot 39 percent from the floor, while Texas Southern shot 42 percent...The Delta Devils turned 21 Texas Southern turnovers into 17 points...Mississippi Valley State put back 14 second-chance points to only 11 for Texas Southern...Texas Southern outrebounded Mississippi Valley State, 43-27.
03/11 03:20:46 ET