PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – Texas Southern nearly overcame a slow start with a frantic second half rally but fell short in its SWAC opener by a 71-67 margin Monday night in Prairie View.
Playing for the first time in 22 days, the Tigers opened the contest with a quick burst as they led 5-2 after a basket from Karl Nicholas and Galen Alexander’s three-pointer. Prairie View A&M would score the next five points to claim a 7-5 lead but TSU answered with a Michael Weathers layup to knot it at 7-all. Prairie View A&M would reclaim the lead seven seconds later and wouldn’t relinquish it but TSU remained within striking distance over the next few minutes as they trailed 23-19 after Justin Hopkins’ layup with 10:08 remaining.
Prairie View A&M’s D’rell Roberts answered with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession for a 26-19 lead which sparked an 8-2 run for a 33-21 advantage with 6:59 remaining. The Panthers would lead by as much as 15 points on two occasions over the next six minutes until Alexander’s three-pointer at the 1:15 mark ended the drought as TSU trailed 40-28 at the half.
Chris Baldwin opened the second half with a jumper to draw within 40-30 but Prairie View A&M answered with a 10-3 run to up its lead to 50-33 with 16:14 remaining. Facing its largest deficit of the game, TSU began to claw back inch-by-inch as they scored the next six points to draw within 50-39 two-and-a-half minutes later. While the TSU defense kept the Panthers in check from that point, the Tiger offense had trouble putting the ball in the basket as they missed their next four shots. TSU didn’t get back on the scoreboard until the 11:04 mark after John Walker III’s layup for a 54-41 deficit. The Panthers would push their lead back to 16 with 7:50 remaining but TSU refused to concede.
Down 60-44, the Tigers finally began to get their legs under them and outscored PVAMU 17-7 as Michael Weathers scored 10 points during that span. Down 67-61 with 2:21 remaining, the Tigers had a chance to draw even closer but turned the ball over on the ensuing possession which led to a PVAMU layup. The Tigers would get within six late once again but it wasn’t enough as Prairie View A&M closed out the contest.
Alexander led TSU with 15 points and nine rebounds while Weathers added 13 points.
TSU is back in action on Saturday against Grambling State at 7:30 p.m. inside the H&PE Arena.