HOUSTON – The Tigers of Texas Southern University led from start to finish Monday as they defeated visiting Mississippi Valley State 92-80 for their eighth consecutive win.
TSU’s Jeremy Combs turned in another double-double performance, scoring 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting and pulling in 10 rebounds. It was Combs’ fifth consecutive double-double game.
Combs led five Tigers scoring in double-figures as TSU (16-11) improved to 11-3 in Southwestern Athletic Conference play. John Jones scored 17 points for TSU and was 5-of-6 from 3-point range.
Eden Ewing scored 13 points for the Tigers, followed by 10 points from Devocio Butler. The Tigers also got 10 points and eight rebounds from 7-foot-2 center Trayvon Reed, who played in his first game since early January.
Mississippi Valley State’s Jordan Evans scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Delta Devils (5-24, 3-12 SWAC).
The Tigers jumped out to a 12-3 lead less than three minutes into the game but had to fend off runs from the visitors. Valley would cut the lead to three points by the midway point of the first half, but the Tigers responded with an 18-4 run that stretched their lead to 39-22 with 3:44 remaining in the first half.
TSU took a 48-32 lead into halftime, only to see the Delta Devils cut the lead to six points by scoring 15 of the first 20 points in the second half. Holding a narrow 56-50 lead, the Tigers embarked on an 8-0 run between the 15:06 and 13:52 marks to push their lead back up to 14 points. Combs ignited the run with a dunk that brought the home crowd to its feet.
Another 8-0 run midway through the second half put the Tigers up 80-58 and firmly in control of the game from that point on.
Tyrik Armstrong and Justin Hopkins scored six points apiece for the Tigers. Armstrong also handed out seven assists, five of which came on TSU’s first five baskets of the game.
The Tigers shot 62 percent (18 of 29) from the floor during the first half; for the game, TSU shot 57 percent (30 of 53) from the field.
Texas Southern returns to action Saturday when the Tigers visit Alabama State. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m., or roughly 20 minutes after the completion of the women’s game between the two schools.