Daniel Broughton had the hot hand for Arkansas-Pine Bluff, but another Golden Lion came to the rescue.
Tevin Hammond, who only had five points, knocked down a three-point basket with 34 seconds left to put the Lions ahead for good Saturday night in a 66-63 victory over Texas Southern. UAPB (6-12, 5-1 SWAC) improved to 4-0 this season inside H.O. Clemmons Arena and has won five of its last six games overall, including two straight.
The Lions prevailed in their most even matchup of the season. They broke a tie for second place with the Tigers (5-14, 4-2) and pulled out a victory in their closest game of the campaign. The previous closest margin was a 72-68 loss to Houston Baptist in the season opener in Honolulu.
“The more they win, the more confidence they are getting,” UAPB coach George Ivory said. “They understand how good they can be. One thing about it, if we can just get better every day and improve, we’ve got a shot.”
Broughton, in his most extensive work this season, scored 20 points and hauled in five rebounds in 31 minutes. He hit 9 of 12 from the floor, including a string of three jumpers midway through the second half that broke up a Texas Southern rally.
“I’m just rising to the challenge, because every game, my (surgically repaired) knee is getting stronger,” Broughton said. “Being at home is a plus, too, because the fans are there. It gets me excited about being in the game.”
The Lions appeared to be in trouble after Davon Haynes missed two free throws with 1:14 left. But they rebounded a missed three-ball with 45 seconds left, and Hammond flashed to the top of the key from the left wing, taking a pass from the elbow and sinking a three to give UAPB at 62-60 edge.
“It wasn’t no play, it was just me using my basketball IQ,” the sophomore guard from Little Rock said. “Terrell (Kennedy) found me for a good shot, so I thank Terrell.”
After Texas Southern’s Aaron Clayborn missed a heavily-contested layup, Kennedy was fouled with 12 seconds left and knocked down both bonus shots to make it 64-60. Ray Penn responded for the Tigers with a deep three from the left wing with 4.9 seconds left, but Broughton sank two free throws a second later, and Omar Strong’s half-court attempt hit the backboard as time expired.
Strong, the SWAC’s preseason player of the year, led the Tigers with 18 points, four assists and three rebounds in 39 minutes of work. He made 5 of 17 field goals, including 4 of 14 from long range.
A 36.2 percent field-goal shooting team, UAPB continued its string of shooting better than 40 percent at home this season, hitting 45.6 percent (26 of 57). That was a nice rebound from a 29.3 percent effort in its previous game, a 62-52 win at Alcorn State.
UAPB led by as much as 21-12 in the game. That margin was erased with a 9-0 Texas Southern run, but Haynes ended it with a two-hand jam — his second of two dunks — only to be slapped with a technical foul for hanging on the rim (although it appeared Haynes tried to keep from landing on an opposing player underneath him).
The technical, however, led to a five-point swing on the Tigers’ next offensive trip. They built their largest lead at 31-26 and went into halftime up 31-30.
The Tigers overcame a 45-39 deficit to go ahead 46-45, and the game was neck-and-neck from there.
Lazabian Jackson scored 14 points, hitting 6 of 12 from the floor, dished out six assists and making four steals for UAPB while playing all 40 mintues. Haynes and Kennedy each added 11 points, while Haynes totaled a team-high seven rebounds.
For Texas Southern, Lawrence Johnson-Danner scored 11 points and Aaron Clayborn had nine rebounds to go with 10 points.
LION NOTES: This was Mike Davis’ first visit to H.O. Clemmons Arena as Texas Southern’s head coach. He spent the past six seasons as Alabama-Birmingham’s coach, but is better known for his run at Indiana from 2000-06 in which he replaced Bob Knight and led the Hoosiers to the 2002 NCAA championship game, a loss to Maryland. … Broughton ran into the Texas Southern bench while saving the ball inbounds, then took a behind-the-back pass from Marcel Mosley and canned a 15-foot jumper to give UAPB its largest lead, 21-12, with 10:23 left in the first half. Broughton barely avoided contact with Davis, who was sitting on the bench. … Each team shot 66.7 percent from the free-throw line, UAPB hitting 10 of 15 and Texas Southern 12 of 18. … Attendance was 3,674.