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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.


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Texas Southern defeats Arkansas-Pine Bluff to win 2018 SWAC Tournament Championship


Updated: March 10, 2018 -- 10:02 pm CST.

HOUSTON, TX (Delmar Fieldhouse) -- For the second consecutive season (and fourth in 5 seasons), Mike Davis and his Texas Southern Tigers' men's basketball teams are going to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers defeated top-seed Arkansas-Pine Bluff 84-69 Saturday afternoon.

2018 SWAC Championship Final: Texas Southern 84, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 69.

The Tigers (15-19) led for nearly 39 minutes of the ball game.

Texas Southern led Arkansas-Pine Bluff 11-8 at the game's first media timeout. Then, the Tigers went on an 11-3 run to lead the Golden Lions 22-11.

The Golden Lions' outscored the Tigers 19-12 to pull within four (34-30) of the Tigers; but, Texas Southern outscored UAPB 11-6 the final 4:29 of the half to lead 45-36 at halftime.

The Tigers shot 60 percent (15/25 field goals) in the first half -- including 7/15 on three-point shots -- and 8 for 10 from the foul line. UAPB shot 41.4 percent (12/29 field goals) -- 3 for 6 threes -- and 9/14 free throws.  UAPB's Travon Harper scored a game-high 15 points. while Derrick Bruce's 13 points led the Tigers.

TSU led 55-44 with 15:37 remaining in the ball game; but, Arkansas-Pine Bluff went on an 8-0 run to cut TSU's lead to 55-52. with 12:50 left in the 2nd half.

Leading 59-57, guard Robert Lewis knocked down a clutch three-point shot which started a 7-0 Texas Southern 7-0 run to stretch the lead to 66-57. UAPB was scoreless last 3:23.

Minutes later, Lewis knocked down his second three-point basket to put the Tigers up 73-61.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (14-20) went cold -- missing 12 of 13 field goal attempts which helped the Tigers put the game away.

7'2" Trayvon Reed scored a team-high 17 points for the Tigers. Reed also blocked four shots and grabbed 10 rebounds. Guard Trae Jefferson scored 15 points. Jefferson was a perfect 11 for 11 from the foul line. He also pulled down 6 rebounds and dished 7 assists. Jefferson was named Most Valuable Player of the SWAC Tournament.

Donte' Clark scored 14 points and handed out 6 assists before fouling out and guard Derrick Bruce scored 13 points; pulled down 4 rebounds and served up 6 assists.

Travon Harper scored a game-high 21 points for the Golden Lions. SWAC Player of the Year, Martaveous McKnight scored 17 points; and, Christian Robertson added 11 points.

Texas Southern shot 59.1% (26 for 44) from the floor while Arkansas-Pine Bluff shot 39.7% (25 for 63) from the floor.


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SWAC All-Tournament Team:

Trae Jefferson, Texas Southern (SWAC Men’s Tournament Most Valuable Player)
Donte Clark, Texas Southern
Travon Harper, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Martaveous McKnight, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Gary Blackston, Prairie View A&M

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