Head coach Johnny Jones and his Texas Southern basketball team have been here before. The Tigers are back-to-back winners of the SWAC Basketball Tournament after beating Alcorn State 87-62.
TSU will represent the conference in the 2022 NCAA Tournament with another chance to upset a higher-ranked Division 1 program, as they did in 2021. The Tigers must win a “Play-In” game before advancing to the tournament at 64 teams.
The Tigers won the championship thanks to an excellent team effort and a terrific defensive performance by forward Brison Gresham.
Jones’ team didn’t have a single player with a double-digit average during the regular season. Today, the TSU team had five double-digit players – Lawson (14 pts), Henry (15 pts), Nicholas (11 pts), Gresham (10 pts) and Walker III (17 pts).
Walker’s 17 points led the team in a 25-point rout against the Braves. TSU scored 57.5 percent from the floor and trailed for just 29 seconds of the contest. The bench provided a spark and added 29 points. It was a team effort that could pay off in a hotly contested NCAA tournament this season.
Alcorn had a terrific regular season as the SWAC Regular Season Champion, but tonight wasn’t their night. Last season the Braves won 6 SWAC games, and this season they had 14 conference wins and were ranked No. 1 in the 2022 SWAC Basketball Tournament.
PJ Henry (Hartford) and Brison Gresham (Houston) had deep runs in last season’s NCAA Tournament. Coach Jones credited their leadership that would benefit the Tigers this season.
I asked Coach Jones about Brison Gresham’s outstanding defensive play. “I’m obviously very excited about the whole group. But Brison came from the University of Houston last year, he made the Final Four there and had a chance to cut the nets. Whether he’s coming from across the street [in Houston], and join us, and be on that same mission in how he has played and impacted our basketball team throughout the year. Whether on the training ground, in the locker room, just his personality. He just really came up and bought our basketball. It’s in the leadership he’s given to this basketball team that’s one of the reasons I have the opportunity to be seated here again tonight,” Jones commented.
Alcorn coach Landon Bussie felt the Braves didn’t play their “best basketball” today. Still, he was optimistic that his team would have the opportunity to “enter the NIT”. He credited Coach Jones and Texas Southern for being “more physical” and “wanted it more” than Alcorn.
TSU’s PJ Henry has been named the 2022 SWAC Men’s Tournament MVP.
- 3 points: TSU-12, Alcorn-18
- Bench Points: TSU-29, Alcorn-10
- Dunk: TSU-8, Alcorn-0
- In the paint: TSU-48, Alcorn-16
Texas Southern is the winningest NCAA Division I HBCU men’s basketball program. Coach Jones has proven that good training of great team players can go a long way during tournament season.