HOUSTON – The Tigers of Texas Southern University overcame a 21-point, second-half deficit and handed Prairie View A&M its first conference loss of the season Saturday in a 95-90 win over the visiting Panthers.
Playing in front of the largest crowd of the season at H&PE Arena, Jeremy Combs scored 22 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead six TSU players scoring in double-figures as the Tigers (12-11, 7-3 SWAC) won their fourth consecutive contest.
First-place Prairie View A&M (11-12) fell to 9-1 in Southwestern Athletic Conference play.
The Tigers put together unanswered runs of 18 points and nine points during the final seven and a half minutes of the contest. They scored the last nine points of the game in the final minute to pull away with the victory.
Trailing by four points in the final minute, Combs rebounded a 3-point shot from teammate Tyrik Armstrong and put back a layup while getting fouled. The subsequent free throw put PV’s lead to 90-89 with 29 seconds left to play.
Before they had to think about fouling, the Tigers got the ball back when Eden Ewing stole the in-bounds pass. The ball ended up back in Combs’ hands, who then hit another layup to give the Tigers a 91-90 lead with 26 seconds to play.
The Panthers would turn the ball over again on their next possession, this time thanks to an offensive foul by Antione Lister. PV was then forced to foul Derrick Bruce, who calmly sank to free throws to stretch the Tiger lead to 93-90. After another empty PV possession, Bruce iced the game with two more free throws.
Prairie View A&M led 53-45 at halftime and continued to build its lead in the early part of the second half. The Panthers took their biggest lead of the game when Gerard Andrus hit a layup with 13:46 remaining to give the visitors a 71-50 lead.
The Tigers trailed by 16 points with 7:37 left in the game but came roaring back with 18 unanswered points over the next four and a half minutes. Armstrong capped the run a mid-range jumper to tie the game at 84-84, then got a steal at midcourt and went in for a layup to give the Panthers the lead.
Armstrong finished the game with 19 points, four assists and three steals. Devocio Butler added 14 points and Ewing chipped in 13 points.
Bruce and Justin Hopkins each finished with 10 points off the TSU bench. Prairie View A&M’s Devonte Patterson scored 21 points to lead five Panthers scoring in double-figures.
The Tigers return to action next Saturday when they travel to Grambling State to kick off a two-game road trip. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m., or approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the women’s game between the two schools.