Alcorn’s Mangum relishes role

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2000

If the Alcorn State basketball team is looking for a spark during the Southwestern Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament this week in Biloxi, junior guard Corey Mangum will be quick to oblige.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Mangum is averaging 6.1 points a game.

&uot;I just want to help contribute to the team in any way possible,&uot; Mangum said. &uot;I want to be like a spark plug.&uot;

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Alcorn won the tournament last year in Baton Rouge, La., to earn an automatic bid.

The Braves lost to Stanford in the first round, as the Cardinal had to pull away in the end after the contest was tied with three minutes to play.

Alcorn repeated as regular season champs this season, finishing 18-9 overall and 15-3 in league play, currently holding an eight-game winning streak.

&uot;We just be need to play good defense, execute and do the same thing that made us SWAC champions,&uot; Mangum said about the upcoming tournament.

The Braves meet Grambling in a first round game at 8:30 p.m.

Alcorn swept Grambling 97-71 at home and 82-61 in Grambling during the season.

&uot;We can’t overlook anybody in the tournament,&uot;&160;Mangum said. &uot;Right not everybody is 0-0. Just because we beat Grambling twice doesn’t mean they can’t still beat us. We’re focusing on them right now.&uot;

Mangum said coming off the bench and starting both have their advantages.

&uot;When you start you get the fame and glory,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s helps me a little bit being on the bench because you know what has to be done. If I get into a game and it’s not going good&160;I try to do something like make a big defensive play to get us going. Sitting on the bench you see things that you may not see starting.&uot;

Mangum attended Jackson Lanier High and spent two years at Connors State College where he averaged 12 points as a freshman and 15 as a sophomore, earning honorable mention All-American honors.

&uot;I’ve always looked forward to going to a Division I school,&uot;&160;Mangum said.

Mangum said he has also enjoys plays under Dave Whitney.

&uot;He’s a great coach,&uot; Mangum said. &uot;Not only does he tell us about basketball, but he teaches us about life. He tells us if we lose a game to let the other person know they played a good game. I’ll go over to his house and watch TV and we’ll talk about anything.&uot;

Mangum said the fact Alcorn went to the tournament last year will help this year.

&uot;I think the team is playing with a lot more confidence,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re playing well now and everybody knows their roles better.&uot;

Mangum said the Braves have to turn it up a notch at tournament time.

&uot;I look at the ESPN on the TV and they are talking about the ‘Big Dance’ and know there’s an opportunity for us to be there. That is really exciting,&uot; he said. &uot;I think we made a good impression last year and some people will be scared to play us if we make it back.&uot;