Jackson sparks Braves against AM tonight

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

LORMAN &045; Brian Jackson doesn’t talk much, but he’d much rather just let his actions do the talking.

On Saturday night, he did.

The Alcorn State small forward lit up Alabama State during a stretch with a three 3-pointers to charge the Braves to a 77-70 win. Jackson, last year’s leading scorer and a second-team Preseason All-SWAC selection, has battled hip problems, being off shooting and adjusting to a new offensive set under first-year head coach Sam West.

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Jackson had a team-high 22 points Saturday and will likely be relied upon heavily tonight when the Braves host Alabama A&M.;

&uot;BJ has been shooting the ball well all year,&uot; West said. &uot;Our problem all year is us not having the patience when executing our man-to-man offense. I understand why (he was impatient) because he’s such a heck of a scorer, and scorers want the basketball. I understand that. I’ve been patient with him, too. I’m real proud of him and real pleased with that.&uot;

Much like any other team that goes with its top scorer, the Braves were able to really click offensively Saturday in their first SWAC win at home in the Whitney Complex. It was a far cry from their last home game when they were beaten soundly by Grambling State, a game two days removed from dropping a contest to in-state rival Jackson State.

It was just the second win at home all season for the Braves, and a win tonight could put it in the middle of the SWAC standings.

Alcorn will end the first round of the SWAC schedule Saturday at Southern.

&uot;We wanted to come in and prove we’re a lot better team than we’re showing,&uot; guard DeAndre Jones said. &uot;We’re definitely better than the first two times we showed out here. Our problem is keeping it going. We always believe we’ll be able to step it up with the two big games coming up.&uot;

Things did go much better Saturday as the Braves led the entire second half thanks to playing sound offensively and knocking down free throws. They finished with just 10 turnovers to Alabama State’s 17 and made some key plays defensively down the stretch after having trouble offensively when the Hornets went to a man-to-man defense.

&uot;The kids played hard and played smart,&uot; West said. &uot;I think we made our free throws down the stretch, and I think that might have been the difference in the game. We made some mistakes at the end, and I think they turned their defense up a little bit. We missed quite a few shots, but we’re not mature enough yet to not make those kinds of mistakes. But we’re getting there.&uot;

The win was another tough blow to the Hornets, who were picked to finish second in the SWAC in the preseason poll after a solid season in 2002-03. But it’s been anything but solid this season as the Hornets lost last week at home to lowly Arkansas-Pine Bluff and now sit 1-5 in the standings, tied with UAPB at the bottom.

The Hornets got 15 points apiece from guard Malcolm Campbell and Alexander Oliver, but the team’s 17 turnovers allowed them to get out-scored 20-9 in points off turnovers.

&uot;We just didn’t make plays, and I thought Alcorn played quite well,&uot; Bama State head coach Rob Spivery said. &uot;It’s very unusual for us giving up 77 points in a ball game. That’s a credit to their players and their shooting ability. We caught them on a very good night.&uot;