Tigers stave off a furious 2nd half rally to defeat Arkansas Pine-Bluff 94-74

by Pedro Romero Jr.

The Texas Southern Tigers defeated the Arkansas Pine-Bluff Golden Lions by a score of 94-74 on Saturday night, extending their winning streak to seven games and further strengthening their hold of second place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference standings.

Leading the way for the home team was Jeremy Combs who provided another double-double, this time consisting of 27 points on 10 of 15 shooting, 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block. It’s another chapter in the graduate transfer student’s impeccable season.

When asked about his stellar performance throughout the year after the game, Combs expressed humility by taking the praise he received from reporters and giving it to his teammates.

“I mean—it’s great but all I’m really concerned about is winning,” the three-time SWAC Player of the Week winner said. “As long as we’re winning while all this is going on, it’s good. My teammates are doing a good job keeping me involved in the game and we’re all working hard to get a win.”

Tigers guard Jalyn Patterson, coming back from an injury, followed suit with 19 points while forward Eden Ewing chipped in with 11 points.

For Arkansas Pine-Bluff, guard Martaveous McKnight led his team with 23 points.

The Tigers began the game in high spirits as a mixture of fruitful offense and aggressive defense allowed them to deny the Golden Lions from getting open looks at the basket. As a result, they built a 20-point lead early on for a 31-11 score at the 11:51 mark.

However, the Tigers’ high-tempo defense waned away which prompted Arkansas Pine-Bluff to mount a comeback right until the first half ended. Amidst this stretch, Texas Southern’s players were getting beaten on the paint since they couldn’t grab their opponent’s missed shots, leaving the control of the boards to their adversaries. As such, the Golden Lions kept tipping the ball over to their teammates, giving them plenty of second-chance opportunities.

Their resurgence was highlighted by a 12-6 run which spanned for four minutes that ended in a 43-34 score for the home team. Though Texas Southern was leading at the break, they felt their superiority on the scoreboard was only temporary, so they had to be cautious going forward.

The visitor’s momentum continued in the second half as they made 10 of their first 21 shots, eerily familiar of the events transpired earlier in the game which happened for the opposing side. In the process, the Tigers’ lethargic energy on the defensive end that nullified their positive start spilled itself on to the offensive side of the court as they couldn’t get anything going. Texas Southern’s lead kept diminishing until Arkansas Pine-Bluff were within two points of tying the game, the score being 54-52 at the 12:18 mark.

With the visitors back in the mix to possibly win the game, the fans in attendance began flirting with the notion that it was going to go the distance. But then, when Arkansas Pine-Bluff was on the brink of stealing the game away from Texas Southern, the latter team woke back up to life.

A sequence of events that was jump started by two made 3-point shots from Patterson and guard John Jones forged an 18-5 run at the 3:26 mark that broke the game open and effectively shut the door on Arkansas Pine-Bluff’s chances of winning the game.

Looking into the ramifications of the game, the Tigers maintained their position in second place of the SWAC with a 10-3 record (15-11 overall). Conversely, Arkansas Pine-Bluff moves down to fourth place with an 8-6 conference record (11-16 overall).

Texas Southern will stay at home to face Mississippi Valley State on Monday, February 25 while Arkansas Pine-Bluff will travel t