PINE BLUFF, Ark. – A pair of late free throws in overtime was the difference as Arkansas-Pine Bluff claimed a 74-72 overtime win over Texas Southern Monday night inside the H.O. Clemmons Arena.
In the recent TSU-UAPB series, history has proven UAPB will be a tough out at home as out of nine wins over TSU since 2008, six of the wins prior to Monday night’s game were in Pine Bluff for the Golden Lions.
With the score at 10-9 in favor of UAPB at the 15:56 mark, UAPB scored six straight for a 15-9 lead a minute later but TSU cut its deficit to three points on two occasions over the next four minutes. UAPB’s Terrance Banyard drained a trey followed by a pair of TSU turnovers over the next two minutes sparked a 7-0 Golden Lion run and a 24-14 deficit. TSU’s Bryson Etienne ended the drought with a much-needed three-pointer and added a pair of free throws to get TSU back within 24-19 with 7:29 remaining. UAPB’s Markedric Bell would score the next four points to push the lead back to 28-19 but TSU refused to back down as they outscored UAPB 8-4 over the final 4:38 for a 32-27 halftime deficit.
UABP led for the first eight minutes of the second half until Etienne’s three-pointer gave TSU its first lead (45-44) since the 19:41 mark of the first half. TSU would lead by five points on two occasions over the next four minutes but the game would slow to a crawl in the final 9:40 with a combined 20 points.
Both teams traded leads with UAPB claiming a 59-57 margin with 2:39 left. The lead grew to four but Tyrik Armstrong cut the deficit to 61-59 with 1:08 remaining. UAPB would miss a three-pointer on the ensuing possession with 32 ticks left and Armstrong took matters into his own hands with a clutch jumper for a 61-all tie with 13 seconds remaining. UAPB had one final look but the shot fell short as the game went into overtime.
With a minute left in overtime, Etienne drained a big three-pointer to put TSU ahead 69-68. UAPB would miss its first attempt on the next possession but picked up an offensive rebound and scored off the putback (70-69) with 30 seconds left. A missed floater by TSU led to a foul and UAPB extended its lead to 72-69 after a pair of free throws at the 16 second mark.
Etienne’s number was called on again with the game on the line and the sophomore calmly sank a trey to tie the game at 72-all with nine ticks remaining. However, UAPB’s Dequan Morris initiated contact on a jump shot attempt as time ticked down and TSU was whistled for a foul. Morris hit both free throws and TSU’s desperation attempt from half court fell short as UAPB claimed the win.
Etienne led TSU with 23 points and was responsible for all of TSU’s three-pointers (4) on Monday. Eden Ewing finished with 17 points, five rebounds and three blocks while Hopkins and Armstrong both scored 11 as Hopkins added eight rebounds followed by three steals from Armstrong.
The Tigers are back inside the friendly confines of the H&PE Arena Saturday night versus Alabama A&M for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.