MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama State University men’s basketball team picked up its second consecutive victory on Monday night as the Hornets held off Mississippi Valley State, 71-66, in a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) game at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
“It was a good win for us and our program,” Alabama State head men’s basketball coach Lewis Jackson said. “They (Mississippi Valley State) got us at their place and it was their first conference win. We’ve been pushing ourselves to get two in a row and we were able to do that with these last couple of ballgames. What we have to do is take care of business at home and we did that. We played well enough to win. It wasn’t pretty and it was a game of free throws and turnovers. But we were able to hold on. We just have to continue to find a way to win.”
Alabama State (6-16, 5-6 SWAC) shot 25-of-51 (49 percent) from the floor and 17-of-31 (54.8 percent) from the free-throw line.
Tony Armstrong came off the bench and scored seven of his team-high 13 points in the first half to pace the Alabama State offense. He was 6-of-10 shooting and also added five rebounds and two blocks. Reginald Gee finished with 11 points, two boards, one block and one assist, while Torloft Thomas chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Mississippi Valley State (4-20, 4-7) was held without a field goal for the first 6:13, which allowed Alabama State to grab a 9-3 advantage after a bucket by Gee with 15:34 remaining in the first half.
The Devils fought back and grabbed their first lead (20-19) since 2-0 after a jumper by Isaac Williams with 7:08 left. But baskets by Armstrong, Glenn Holloway and Rodney Simeon gave Alabama State a 27-20 advantage with a little over three minutes remaining in the opening half.
Mississippi Valley State quickly answered and used a 10-5 run to close out the first half, cutting the Alabama State lead to 32-30 at the break.
After Marcus Romain gave Mississippi Valley State a 38-36 lead with 17:36 left, Alabama State responded with a 16-5 run, capped by a three-point play by Thomas with a little over 10 minutes to play.
The Delta Devils closed the gap to 54-51 after a bucket by Williams, but the Hornets quickly answered and pushed the margin to 60-51 after a free throw by Mikel Tyson with 5:47 remaining.
A key 3-pointer by Terrance LeFlore gave Alabama State a 66-57 advantage with 2:18 left, but Mississippi Valley State used a 7-2 run to close the gap to 69-66 with 23 seconds remaining. That would be as close as the Delta Devils would get as the Hornets got two free throws by Gee to seal the victory.
Romain paced the Mississippi Valley State offense with a game-high 18 points, including three 3-pointers. He also added six boards and two assists. Williams tallied 17 points, five rebounds, three steals and one assist as the Delta Devils shot 22-of-59 (37 percent) from the field and 16-of-22 (72.7 percent) from the charity stripe.
Alabama State returns to action with a 5 p.m. tip-off on Saturday against rival Alabama A&M in a SWAC contest at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome. In the previous meeting this season, Alabama State held off Alabama A&M as Gee, Armstrong and Simeon combined for 42 points in a 57-55 victory on Jan. 14.
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