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Alcorn beats rival Jackson State 81-75

LORMAN — Alcorn State took the lead with 1:25 left in the second half over SWAC rival Jackson State with a three-pointer by Marquiz Baker. The late shot put Alcorn up 73-71 and they were able to close out the visiting Tigers with an 81-75 victory.

“Jackson State is a good team, they’re solid. Our defense did a great job, we shut them down in terms of percentage,” head coach Larry Smith said. “Our kids played hard for 40 minutes and we stepped up down the stretch.”

Early in the game, the Braves led by as many as 10 as the offense took advantage of many put backs and fast breaks points. Meanwhile, the defense contested every shot well, not allowing the Tigers to have any open looks at the basket.

“We know this team well, and if we gave them any open looks, they would make them,” Smith said.

The Tigers shot 34.9 percent throughout the game while Alcorn shot almost 50 percent. Jackson State was able to keep up with Alcorn thanks to the 26 free throws made in the game, opposed to Alcorn’s 18. Alcorn also made as many three-point attempts as Jackson State with 12 less attempts, five.

The Braves, now 3-17 (3-7), have struggled mostly throughout the season. However, lately they have found some consistency.

Marquiz Baker led the team with 23 points and Kendrick McDonald tallied 18. Coach Smith spoke of their importance after the game.

“They’re valuable. They work hard. They’re exceptional players, and they’re a plus for us,” Smith said.

Five of Baker’s points came within the last minute and a half. With 1:25 remaining, Alcorn trailed 71-70. Baker hit a clutch three and then transitioned to defense in which Alcorn got the ball back and Baker drove the length of the court, scoring another quick basket. The five quick points led to a timeout and provided some breathing room for the enthusiastic crowd of 1,215.

“We had a great crowd tonight, the fans really showed some excitement,” Smith said. “It’s a little easier to play when the fans are behind you.”

A late technical foul called on Jenirro Bush of JSU sent McDonald to the line to shoot two free throws, both of which were made, sealing Alcorn’s third victory of the season.

Girls

Alcorn State 66,

Jackson State 54

The Lady Braves of Alcorn State defeated conference rival Jackson State 66-54. Alcorn, now 7-12 (6-4), outscored the Lady Tigers despite shooting a lower field goal percentage. However, the Lady Braves were more efficient from with three-pointers and from the free throw line.

The Lady Braves shot 50 percent from downtown, making eight while shooting 20-29 from the free throw line.

Alcorn also lost the rebound battle 43-35, but took advantage of the 25 turnovers Jackson State committed.