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SWAC Notebook

February 28, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Southwestern Athletic Notebook

by Kendrick Marshall

It’s funny how things change

One week ago the bottom feeders of the conference were in battle to stay afloat, while the kings of the hill were basking in the glory of cruising into the SWAC tourney. This week the underdogs have stepped to the forefront and pulled off huge upsets and changed the complexion of the SWAC tourney race.

Powerhouse Alabama State fell hard to two teams that they should have easily dispatched over the weekend. The Hornets lost to 5-10 Southern by three and suffered a humiliating loss to Alcorn 69-50 at home. The boo birds let the team hear it after the game. After the two bad defeats Alabama State fell to 9-5 and into a share for third place in the conference with Texas Southern.

The boys from Houston also felt the wrath of lost opportunity as well. They fell to MVSU and hapless Arkansas Pine- Bluff respectively. The worst loss had to be against Pine-Bluff, who has only won three games in the conference (3-11) before Saturday’s matchup. The downfall for Southern was their horrible shooting from the field, which was a abysmal 40% and committing too many turnovers as well – a robust 21 to be exact. This in a game that could have put them in first place all by themselves.

On the other side of the spectrum the teams that were facing falling completely out of the race have come back into the picture. MVSU, who just a week ago was in the fourth spot, now find themselves on top of the conference at 11-4 after wins over Texas Southern and second place Prairie View. The key to the success of the Delta Devils has been their good outside shooting and their tough defense. During their hot streak they have averaged 75.6 points per game, which leads the conference. Ashley Robinson shot lights-out, hitting on 6-of-13 from the arc, scoring 22 points Saturday. The defense, which is only giving up 73.9 points per game – fourth in the conference – and that type of play could vault them all the way to the SWAC title come tournament time.

The other Mississippi team fighting for a place in the tournament is the Alcorn State braves. They were reeling a week ago but picked up a big win over the Hornets where four of their players were in double figures for the first time this season. Dion Callans recorded 14 huge points and had help from Howard Myles, who chipped in with 16 of his own to lead the Braves to victory. The Braves forced 23 turnovers and held the hornets to 34% shooting from the field, which shows that defense can lead to a big win.

The Tigers of Jackson State University are probably the hottest team in the conference right now, winning their last four games in a row and reaching the .500 mark in the conference at 7-7. They reached that mark by winning impressively over Grambling State 80-75 at home in Jackson. In order for the team to win early in the season they needed scoring from their two big scorers in Tim Henderson and Cliff Walker. Now the team is finding points from other places in Ishmael Joyce and KC Cavette. Cavette had 18 points and dished out 6 assists in the win over Grambling and Ishmael Joyce continued his hot shooting in leading the Tiger team with 20 points.

News and Notes

It appears as if Alcorn State head basketball coach Davey Whitney is retiring from the coaching ranks at the end of the season. He brought the Braves to prominence and a staple as a SWAC powerhouse and his antics will be missed by all.

SWAC Player of the Week

Grambling State freshman guard Brian Rush.

Rush scored a career- high 27 points in a loss verses Jackson State University Saturday


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