Braves lose to rival Jackson

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 17, 2005

JACKSON &045; He’s the other big man from Prentiss who can score.

At 6-8 and suiting up in blue and white in the Southwestern Athletic Conference instead of the green and white in the NBA, Jackson State’s Kelly Ross may not be as thick and imposing as Al Jefferson, but he found a rhythm in the second half against Alcorn State Saturday.

His 12 points in the second half was a key, and Ross made up for his miss down the stretch during the Alabama road swing to lead the Tigers to a 70-58 win over Alcorn.

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&uot;I was disappointed I missed a couple of shots at the end of the game,&uot; said Ross, who had 14 and was one of five JSU players in double figures. &uot;But I came out with the feeling that that game was in the past and I had to get ready for the next game. That’s what I try to do every game. I had to put that behind me.&uot;

The Tigers (1-2, 5-10) kept putting it behind the Alcorn defense in the halfcourt to Ross and the inside game midway through the second half to pull away from an Alcorn team that cut the lead to one. The Tigers capitalized on sluggish defense and a 23 Alcorn turnovers to pull away from one point where the Tigers led 46-45 with 9:56 left in the game.

The Tigers pulled away from there.

&uot;We thought they were a little bit weak inside,&uot; Jackson head coach Tevester Anderson said. &uot;Kelly Ross was shooting the ball well. We thought that was the weak area of their defense, and that’s what we did &045; we went inside.

&uot;If you get as many points distributed as we did tonight, you have a chance to win every night out. When you have a one-man show, you don’t win many games. You’ve got to spread it out.&uot;

Ross wasn’t the only one with the hot hand, but from there on out not many Braves had the hot hand offensively. The wheels came off after they cut it to one at that point, and the game of spurts continued for a team that has struggled with putting a complete game together this season.

The Braves finished with 23 turnovers and had six of their 31 second-half points from players not named Delvin Thompson and DeAndre Jones.

&uot;We didn’t play team ball at all,&uot; said Alcorn head coach Samuel West, who declined to release players to the media. &uot;We did not play team ball. That’s all I really want to say. We played team ball Wednesday night and played smart. That’s not my team in there.

&uot;We had 14 (turnovers) in the first half and I don’t know how many in the second half. They’re trying to do it on their own.&uot;

Once Alcorn trimmed the deficit to one with two free throws from Thompson, Ross hit a hook shot to start an 11-1 run. He accounted for two more baskets before Hilton Tompkins drained a 3-pointer with 6:11 left for a 57-46 lead.

&uot;I just kept stepping in front of their big man and getting it down on the block,&uot; Ross said. &uot;Once I get it down on the block, I’m a pretty good finisher. We started executing the offense a lot better.&uot;

Jones and Thompson made up for the offense after that but never could get the deficit within single digits. West disputed his team’s struggles in the paint, and the Braves had one free throw from James Kendrick at the 3:14 mark as the only points from the inside in the second half after Almaad Jackson scored two minutes in.

&uot;None,&uot; West said. &uot;Every time we turned the offense over, we scored.&uot;

Alcorn struggled down the stretch of the first half, hitting just two field goals in the final eight minutes and finishing the half with 14 turnovers. Dakari Wallace and Hilton Tompkins each tossed in buckets created off Alcorn miscues on the other end, and Tompkins’ bucket with 27 seconds left put the JSU lead at 36-25.

The Braves then got their first field goal since the 6:26 mark when Delvin Thompson put one in over the fingertips of 7-0 center Shane King with 16 seconds left to put the score at 36-27 at halftime.

The Braves tied it up at 19 before West was called for technical foul with 7:30 left, and Williams hit both free throws to break the tie. Wyatt later slammed one home at the 6:26 mark on a feed from Alleo Frazier for the other field goal that put the deficit at 23-21.

Wallace later put in a basket off a pass from Williams-Parker with 2:11 left for a 30-22 Jackson lead.

&uot;This is a big win for our program,&uot; Anderson said. &uot;Every time we play Alcorn State, it’s going to be a tough game. I thought they came out really hot. This team was a dangerous team. You’ve got to play with poise, character and confidence. I thought we showed a lot of poise and character.&uot;