Box Score Andriana Avent scored a career-best 35 points as Texas Southern nearly pulled off a big comeback with only seven available players as Arkansas-Pine Bluff won 86-82 Saturday inside the H&PE Arena.
UAPB stormed out to a 9-0 lead and set the tone for what was about to occur before TSU’s first score on a Skye Green offensive putback. The Lions would extend their lead to 11-3 before TSU roared back and outscored UAPB 18-13 over the final 6:53 as Shalexxus Aaron led the charge with 10 points en route to a 24-22 UAPB lead.
The second quarter was another up-and-down affair as UAPB outscored TSU 10-3 to open the quarter as they led 34-25. Andriana Avent nailed a huge trey to end the run which sparked TSU on both ends of the court as they turned a nine-point deficit to a 37-34 deficit with 3:16 remaining. UAPB once again regained the momentum and pushed its lead back to seven at 41-34 but Avent scored the final four points for TSU to close out the half down 44-38.
TSU closed the gap to 46-45 with 7:32 in the third quarter left but UAPB went on a 7-4 surge to push the lead to 53-47. The shots would stop falling for TSU unfortunately as they went 3-for-12 over the next 5:06 while UAPB took advantage of TSU’s depth and drove the lane as they finished the quarter 5-of-6 from the field to claim a 66-55 lead.
TSU would get within nine early in the quarter but depth and fatigue would begin to set in as UAPB did most of its damage down low in the paint. Shalexxus Aaron would hit eight straight points for TSU to draw within eight at 83-75 with 3:29 left as TSU would continue to hang around and keep it within single digits. UAPB would add a free throw to up it to 84-75 but Avent nailed a trey with 2:15 remaining to draw TSU within six (84-78) as the clock read 1:59.
TSU kept fighting and closed the gap to 84-80 on Skye Green’s putback and was on the verge of another big possession but UAPB’s Maya Peat recorded a big offensive rebound after a missed UAPB shot and drew a foul. Peat made 1-of-2 free throws for an 85-80 margin at the 1:08 mark. Both teams would commit turnovers on alternating possessions with TSU taking advantage as Avent stole the ball and recorded a layup after being fouled to close the gap to 85-82 with 26 seconds left. Avent would miss the potential three-point play free throw and UAPB’s Joyce Kennerson made 1-of-2 free throws on the next possession to move ahead 86-82. TSU would miss a desperation three-pointer on its next possession as UAPB would close out the contest.
Avent led TSU with a career-best 35 points and five rebounds followed by 21 from Aaron and 14 from Bridges. Bridges led TSU with nine rebounds along with six assists and three steals.
TSU is back in action on Monday night against Mississippi Valley State at 5:30 p.m. inside the H&PE Arena.