MONTGOMERY, Ala. — SWAC play hasn’t gotten much easier for Arkansas-Pine Bluff, but with Saturday’s 81-77 win over Alabama State, the Golden Lions are still in good shape in the conference race.
UAPB (9-13, 8-2 SWAC), which remains one game behind league-leading Southern, had one of its best shooting performances of the season Saturday, hitting 30 of 62 shots for 48.4 percent. Lazabian Jackson hit 7 of 11 including 6 of 9 from three-point range and led the Lions with 20 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Tevin Hammond hit the second of two free throws with 24 seconds left to give UAPB a 79-77 lead. Alabama State (6-17, 4-5) took a time out with 11 seconds to go, but Hammond made a steal and went for a layup with 2 seconds remaining to put the game away.
The victory gives UAPB a regular-season sweep of Alabama State.
Jackson was one of five Lions to score in double figures. Davon Haynes and Terrell Kennedy each scored 13 points, Daniel Broughton added 12 points and Hammond had 10 points to go with eight assists and six steals.
The Lions also had one of their best shooting peroformances from the arc, hitting 9 of 19 for 47.4 percent. But they struggled again in free throws, hitting only 12 of 20 for 60 percent.
UAPB weathered a scoring storm by Alabama State’s Joshua Freelove, who had a game-high 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting including 6 of 9 from the arc. Phillip Crawford added 21 points and nine rebounds, and Bobby Brown came close to a double-double with nine points and nine boards.
UAPB led most of the way, taking the lead for good at 28-26 with 8:59 left in the first half on a Kennedy layup. That started a 10-0 run for their biggest lead of the game, a margin they would match twice.
Alabama State never led by more than three points. There were nine ties in the game.
The Hornets quickly cut into their 47-41 halftime deficit with a 5-1 run in the first 48 seconds of the second half. Jackson hit back-to-back three-pointers to quickly bump the lead back up to 54-46.
It was a 66-65 UAPB lead after Brown completed a three-point play with 8:28 left. From that point, UAPB led by no more than five points.
Hammond went 1 for 2 at the line with 31 seconds to go to make it 78-74, but Freelove responded with a three.
Alabama State hit 45.6 percent from the field (26 of 57) including 6 of 18 from the perimeter and hit 70.4 percent of its free throws (19 of 27).
Alabama State 66, UAPB 63 (OT)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Chi Chi Okwumabua hit a layup with 8 seconds to go in regulation to send the game into overtime, but a steal at the end preserved the win for Alabama State (6-14, 4-5 SWAC).
The layup came 13 seconds after Alabama State’s Kierra Paige made a go-ahead basket. Early in overtime, UAPB (7-12, 3-6) kept up its momentum and took a 62-58 lead with 3:46 remaining.
But the Lady Hornets tied it up for the 10th time with two field goals and went ahead 64-62 on two Quentori Alford field goals. Christina Lasane made 1 of 2 free throws with 57 seconds left to make it 64-63, then Danielle Gazaway sank a pair with 17 ticks remaining to push the lead back up to three.
Alford made a steal before time ran out to seal the win.
Lakendra Marsh led UAPB with 17 points, including three three-point baskets. Marion Thompson and Okwumabua each added 11 points; Thompson and Okwumabua also pulled down 11 and eight rebounds, respectively, while Okwumabua also made five steals.
But UAPB struggled to shoot well from the field, going 19 for 63 for 30.2 percent (including 4 of 13 from three-point range). The Lady Lions hit 21 of 29 free throws for 72.4 percent.
Alabama State, which limped to 38.7 percent field-goal and 58.3 percent foul shooting, was led by Alford with 16 points and Erica Henderson with 10.
UAPB at Alabama A&M
• When: Women’s game at 5:30 p.m.; men’s game at 7:30 p.m.
• Where: T.M. Elmore Gymnasium, Huntsville, Ala.
• Records: Alabama A&M women 6-14, 5-5; Alabama A&M men 8-13, 4-6
• Last meetings: Women, Alabama A&M 73-62; Men, UAPB 77-61, both in Pine Bluff, on Jan. 8