PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – The Texas Southern Tigers overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half and survived a back-and-forth overtime as they earned its first win at Prairie View A&M in five years after a 75-74 decision Saturday night.
As expected, the TSU-PVAMU rivalry was in full force early as the first half featured nine lead changes and seven ties within the first 17:12. The tide of the contest would turn with 3:12 remaining as PVAMU closed out the half on a 10-0 run for a 40-33 halftime lead. During the run, TSU would miss its final three shots while committing four turnovers while PVAMU hit on three attempts for the difference.
Bryson Etienne ended the TSU drought with a trey to open the second half to draw within 40-36 but PVAMU answered with a backdoor basket to move ahead 42-36. Two PVAMU free throws and a missed TSU shot led to another Panther basket and a 10-point (46-36) deficit prior to the first media timeout. The ball wouldn’t fall for whatever reason for the Tigers from that point while PVAMU’s lead increased to 50-37 after a four-point play at the 14:10 mark.
Jordan Gilliam put the team on its back to keep the game from slipping away as he personally sparked a 7-0 run with four free throws and a three-pointer off Yahuza Rasas’ offensive rebound as the deficit decreased to six at 50-44 prior to a called PVAMU timeout with 12:09 left. With one second left on the shot clock on PVAMU’s next possession, the Panthers received a dose of luck as Markedric Bell hit a trey after he was left open on a double team. TSU would answer quickly on A.J. Lawson’s layup to stay within seven (53-46). TSU kept up its defensive pressure and kept on chipping away at the PVAMU lead over the next four minutes as they closed to 53-51 after another Gilliam three-pointer at the 8:32 mark.
PVAMU scored on a layup after a TSU miss but the Tigers started to assert themselves inside as Karl Nicholas drew a pair of fouls and hit 3-of-4 free throws to get within 55-54 with 6:51 remaining. After another defensive stop, Bryson Etienne hit a huge three-pointer for TSU’s first lead (57-55) of the second half. PVAMU would commit a traveling violation and Yahuza Rasas upped the margin to 59-55 with 5:48 left before a pair of Panther free throws cut the lead to 59-57.
In typical TSU-PVAMU fashion, the intensity picked up late as baskets from Lawson and Etienne gave TSU a 63-57 lead with 4:32 left but PVAMU’s Jawaun Daniels hit a three-pointer with time winding down on the shot clock to cut the lead to 63-60 prior to the media timeout at 3:50.
Lawson, who grew up 45 minutes down the highway from Prairie View in Bryan, Texas, began to feel at home as he would hit two free throws on the next possession for a 65-60 lead but PVAMU hit two of its own to stay within 65-62 at the 2:53 mark. The Tigers missed a prime opportunity to move ahead with a close miss on its next possession but the defense came up big as PVAMU missed a wide-open three-pointer. Lawson was fouled on the next possession and hit both free throws for a 67-62 lead with 1:54 left.
Defensively, TSU kept the pressure as PVAMU missed its next shot and free throw attempt but TSU couldn’t capitalize as they as missed a three-pointer and two free throws to keep the Panthers in the game. William Douglas would drain a three-pointer with 48 seconds left to cut TSU’s lead to 67-65 and TSU once again left the door open with a missed shot which gave the Panthers a chance at a tie or win. The Panthers played the possession out and sent it into overtime as Douglas hit a jumper with 1.2 seconds left.
Despite the setback, the Tigers didn’t panic as Lawson opened OT with a big basket down in the paint. PVAMU answered on a putback but Lawson again had a hand in the next play as he drew a double team and found a wide-open Bryson Etienne for a 72-69 lead. Douglas was again a thorn in TSU’s side with a game-tying three-pointer but Yahuza Rasas hit 1-of-2 free throws to give TSU a 73-72 lead with 2:49 left.
The TSU defense forced another turnover on the next possession and Etienne made them pay with another driving layup in the paint for a 75-72 margin. Karl Nicholas came up with a huge block several seconds later and the TSU defense again forced another turnover on the inbound pass. TSU would miss its layup attempt to go ahead by two possessions and PVAMU had two opportunities to score but misfired. However, TSU was whistled for a loose ball foul but PVAMU missed the front end of the one-and-one with 46.6 left. The Tigers missed another shot with time winding down which left the door open for PVAMU to tie.
After a PVAMU timeout with 7.7 left, Douglas was forced by the TSU defense to take a desperation three-pointer which led to a PVAMU putback that took too much time off the clock as TSU sealed the win.
TSU erased its recent Baby Dome ghosts as the win marked the first time since 2017 TSU won on the PVAMU campus and the first for head coach Johnny Jones in four tries. The win also marked the first time since 2017-18 TSU has a two-winning streak over the Panthers.
Etienne led TSU with 20 points followed by 15 from Lawson and 10 each from Gilliam and Rasas. Rasas had a double-double with 11 boards while Brison Gresham had three blocks.
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