1/16/2021 | 5:30 p.m.
PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – Ataiya Bridges posted a double-double while Te'aire Hambrick was hot from downtown with a 20-point effort as Texas Southern battled to the end in its SWAC opener as they won by a 79-76 margin Monday night inside the Baby Dome.
Playing with a small roster due to a variety of factors out of the team's control, TSU didn't let it stop them as they were neck-and-neck with Prairie View A&M to open the contest. Holding an 11-8 lead, the momentum went back to Prairie View A&M as they closed out the opening quarter with a 7-2 run to claim a 18-11 lead after the first quarter.
Prairie View A&M would push their lead to nine on two occasions over the first five minutes of the second quarter. With 5:36 remaining, Hambrick nailed a three-pointer to draw within 26-20 but PVAMU answered with a free throw to move back ahead 27-20. Nearly a minute later, Britnee Gabriel scored off on offensive rebound to close within five (27-22) and solid defense by TSU over the next minute led to a layup from Hambrick to narrow the gap to 27-24. Another PVAMU turnover led to a layup by Bridges and a 27-26 deficit but PVAMU answered with a basket to move ahead 29-26. On the following possession, Hambrick nailed a trey to knot the game at 29-all but PVAMU's Kennedy's Paul was fouled and hit both free throws to move ahead by two. Gabriel continued to assert herself and scored the next four points to put TSU ahead 33-31 with 55 seconds remaining. PVAMU was whistled for a turnover on its next possession and TSU continued to fight as Demetrius Lewis picked up a big offensive rebound with one second left and found Hambrick for a big buzzer-beating three-pointer as TSU led 36-31 at the half.
With the lead in hand, TSU opened the third quarter on fire as they outscored Prairie View A&M 12-5 over the first three-and-half minutes to lead 48-37 thanks to baskets from four different players. Prairie View A&M would cut the lead down to 54-48 as the quarter began to close but Demetrius Lewis and Skye Green scored buckets to push it back to double digits at 58-48. However, Prairie View A&M refused to go away as they outscored TSU 5-0 to end the quarter down 58-53.
The final quarter was a roller coaster ride as PVAMU cut the lead to 58-55 in the opening seconds but a free throw from Bridges and a layup from Gabriel gave TSU a 61-55 lead. The Panthers would cut it to 61-57 with 7:47 left but Gabriel continued to come up big with a much-needed layup and a pair of PVAMU turnovers led to trey from Hambrick and a 66-57 lead. Once again though, PVAMU countered with a trey to remain within six but the Tigers dug deep and continued to hold ground as they held a 71-62 margin with 4:51 on the clock.
But once again in true rivalry fashion, the game would come down to the wire as Prairie View A&M answered with a 9-0 surge to regain a 72-71 advantage with 2:53 left. Sensing the game slipping away, Skye Green responded with a huge layup off an assist from Bridges to recapture the lead. PVAMU missed a three-pointer on the ensuing possession and Hambrick made them pay with a trey to lead 76-72 at the 2:14 mark. TSU would turn to its defense and picked up a steal late which led to a free throw from Bridges and a 77-72 margin. Both teams would trade baskets slightly under the one-minute mark as TSU continued to hold serve at 79-74.
With 26 seconds left, PVAMU scored to draw within 79-76 and TSU turned the ball over on a double dribble. PVAMU attempted a game-tying three-pointer with 11 seconds left but the ball rimmed out as TSU would hold on for its first SWAC win of the year.
Bridges led TSU with 22 points, 11 assists and eight steals in 39 minutes of action while Hambrick nailed five three-pointers and dished out six assists en route to a 20-point outing. Gabriel added 13 points off the bench while Demetrius Lewis pulled down seven boards with three steals.
TSU is back in action on Saturday against Grambling State at 5:30 p.m. inside the H&PE Arena.
Courtesy: TSU Athletics