Texas Southern sent a strong message to the SWAC with an impressive 87-52 blowout victory over the Alcorn State Braves Tuesday night.
Junior guard Dexter Ellington led the way in the conference opener with 10 of his 17 points coming in the second half in addition to his five steals. Lawrence Johnson-Danner scored 13 points and Omar Strong pitched in 12, including going four of five from the 3-point line.
Twann Oakley scored 14 points for Alcorn (3-10) and Ken McDonald added 13.
TSU’s length and athleticism made it difficult for Alcorn to operate offensively. In the first half, the Tigers’ trapping defense resulted in nine steals. The Braves turned the ball over 29 times and the Tigers capitalized by scoring 38 points.
“I thought we did a good job getting to the areas, limiting guys and not giving them open looks,” said Texas Southern head coach Tony Harvey.
Texas Southern (2-11) started the game running their offense on the block through their big man Aaron Clayborn, who scored the Tigers first four points. The Braves ‘defense then made the adjustments needed by double teaming him in the paint but the Tigers simply started draining outside shots.
The Tigers shot 53 percent from behind the arc, making 10 of 19 3-pointers, eight of which came in the first half alone.
At the 6:56 mark of the first half mark with the score 21-12, sophomore guard Lawrence Johnson-Danner caught fire and went on his own 11 point run, including making three straight shots from behind the arch.
“I’ve been off lately,” said Johnson-Danner. “I’m just trying to get back my confidence and get back to playing the way I play and doing the things I know can do.”
TSU displayed a well-balanced offense, while the starters scored 51 points they got good production of the bench as the supporting cast scored 36.
Collectively, the Tigers played a well-rounded game in the conference opener and their message to the rest of the teams in the leagues is that they want it all.
“Championship that’s it,” said Coach Harvey. “We have one goal we are going to be a little hungrier and continue to work at it.”