TSU did a solid job of getting everyone involved early on as three of the five starters all scored within the first three minutes for an 8-6 lead. From there, Etienne set the tone for what was about to come by scoring five of the next nine points to help extend TSU’s lead to 15-9 with 13:02 remaining. TSU constantly held off JSU’s attempts to regain the lead as they led by five over the next few minutes but JSU quickly turned a four-point (26-22) TSU lead into a one-point TSU lead following a trey by Jonas James at the 6:04 mark.
Jackson State would get to within one on two more occasions over the next three minutes but Jordan Andrews nailed a big three-pointer to move ahead 33-29. Aided by a solid defensive effort from his teammates, Etienne once again took charge as the half came to an end by outscoring JSU 6-0 to lead TSU into the break ahead 38-29. TSU closed out the half with a 9-0 run and held Jackson State scoreless over the final 3:43.
TSU came out the second half with the same intensity as the first as they outscored Jackson State 21-11 over the first 11:11 to lead by as much as 19 (57-38). The lead would grow to 20 (63-43) after Etienne’s free throws but Jackson State would come roaring back over the next five minutes and cut its deficit to single digits (70-61) after a three-pointer with 2:20 left. Justin Hopkins would answer the call with a momentum-stealing layup off Etienne’s assist 16 seconds later and Yahuza Rasas also came up big with a steal and layup for a 13-point lead. JSU managed to get within nine once again with 46 seconds remaining but TSU never wavered as they closed out the contest with the win.
TSU has now won nine of the past 11 over JSU dating back to 2015. The Tigers are 7-4 when playing in Jackson since 2010.
In addition to his career-high in points, Etienne also shot 61 percent (8-of-13) from the field and 90 percent from the free throw line as he nailed 9-of-10 baskets. Three other Tigers scored in double figures as Rasas recorded his sixth double-double of the year and his third straight after scoring 13 points with 11 rebounds. Hopkins added 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting along with 10 from Tyrik Armstrong.
TSU closes out its first SWAC trip of the year at Grambling State Monday night at 7:30 p.m.