MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama State University men’s basketball team will look to rebound off a tough home loss on Saturdayto Texas Southern as Prairie View A&M comes to the Dunn-Oliver Acadome for Senior Night on Monday for a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) game.
“One thing that can’t happen is that we come out like we did in that last ballgame at their place,” Alabama State head coach Lewis Jackson said. “This dogfight that we are in to position us for the tournament and perhaps even make the tournament and it’s going to be another tough ballgame. They are one game in front of us and we know we have to come out and play our game. It’s going to be Senior Night for our older guys and hopefully they will come out and lead us.”
Alabama State (8-19 overall, 6-9 SWAC) comes into Monday night’s game off three straight losses. The Hornets dropped a pair of road games against Alcorn State and Southern, while falling at home to Texas Southern, 86-73, on Saturday. Prairie View A&M (10-19, 7-8) has won two out of its last three games, but dropped a 87-74 decision on Saturday at Alabama A&M.
The race for the 2017 SWAC Tournament continues and with the new league tournament format, only the top eight teams advance to postseason play. The top four teams are hosting first-round games at home on March 7. The winners advance to the SWAC Final Four in Houston (March 10-11).
Alabama State currently sits in the seventh position in the standings and ahead of Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the eighth spot. Prairie View A&M is tied for fifth with Jackson State.
Against Texas Southern, Alabama State trailed for the entire second half and cut a double-digit Tigers lead to single digits with seven minutes left, but couldn’t overcome the huge deficit.
Tony Armstrong finished with 24 points, on 8-of-13 shooting and 8-of-10 from the foul line. He added seven rebounds and one steal to pace the Hornet offense. Rodney Simeon produced 14 of his 16 points in the second half and also finished with three rebounds, one assist and one block. Torloft Thomas chipped in with 12 points, five boards, two assists and one steal as Alabama State shot 42.6 percent (23-of-54) and 72.7 percent (24-of-33) from the foul line.
Against Alabama A&M, the Panthers shot 36.5 percent (23-of-63) and 72.4 percent (21-of-29) from the charity stripe in the loss. Prairie View A&M fell behind in the first half and was outscored, 42-29, as the Bulldogs cruised to the home victory.
Tevin Bellinger, who shot 7-of-20 from the floor, led Prairie View A&M with 19 points. Troy Thompson and Zachary Hamilton registered 17 and 13 points, respectively.
In the previous meeting on Jan. 30, the Panthers outscored the Hornets, 40-25, in the second half to cruise to the 72-52 victory.
Simeon led Alabama State with 17 points, while Terrance LeFlore added 13 and Reginald Gee 11 in the loss. Armstrong finished with seven points and 10 rebounds as the Hornets were 16-of-49 (32.7 percent) shooting from the floor and 12-of-19 (63.2 percent) from the free-throw line.
Bellinger paced PVAMU with a game-high 27 points, while Hamilton added 16 and Shay’rone Jett 10 in the win. The Panthers shot 45.6 percent (26-of-57) from the floor and 83.3 percent (10-of-12) from the free-throw line.
Alabama State concludes its home portion of the schedule with Senior Night on Monday night against Prairie View A&M. Tip-off from the Dunn-Oliver Acadome is set for 7:30 p.m.