Texas Southern leads Texas A&M Corpus Christi

DAYTON, Ohio — Bryson Etienne scored 21 points in the NCAA Tournament First Four Tuesday night and Texas Southern defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 76-67.

The Tigers earned their third NCAA tournament win in five seasons and will play up front in the Midwest’s first round against Kansas.

“I feel like anyone can go to any big school,” Etienne said. “We are men like her. We put on our shoes like them, pants, shirt. It’s March Madness, so madness can happen.”

PJ Henry hit a go-ahead free throw to highlight a 7-0 run in which Texas Southern (19-12) took the lead and never gave up. He finished with 14 points and shot 10 of 13 at the free throw line.

“One of the things we talked about was playing every second, every game extremely hard,” said Texas Southern coach Johnny Jones. “It was necessary against this team to be able to finish the track.”

John Walker III added 16 points. Brison Gresham caught 13 rebounds and scored six points as the First Four returned to the University of Dayton Arena for the first time in three seasons.

Jordan Gilliam #11 and John Jones #12 of the Texas Southern Tigers celebrate
Texas Southern Tigers’ Jordan Gilliam #11 and John Jones #12 celebrate after defeating the Texas A&M-CC Islanders.
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Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (23-12) led by as many as eight points in the opening period and four in the second half. The Islanders’ season ended after they won the Southland Conference tournament on Saturday.

“We weren’t able to finish things on the edge because they have really good shot blockers,” said Texas A&M-Corpus Christi coach Steve Lutz. “Sometimes we did that, but sometimes we really didn’t make good decisions on the sidelines.”

Trevian Tennyson led the Islanders with 18 points in 7-of-13 shooting while Simeon Fryer had 12 and Terrion Murdix added 10.

Bryson Etienne #4 of the Texas Southern Tigers drives
Bryson Etienne’s 21 points led the way for Texas Southern.
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The Tigers led 32-30 at halftime after being over 10 minutes behind in the first half. Both teams shot less than 40% from the field in the opening stages and combined for 15 turnovers and seven steals.

Late defense

Texas Southern had the advantage on the glass 45-37, including a commanding 25-13 lead in the second half.

The Islanders made just one of their last 11 shots as the Tigers held them 6-04 to seven points in the final. Starting with 5-of-7 from 3-point selections in the second half, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi went 8-58 to 1-of-8 in the finals.

Gresham, who signed from Houston last offseason, has had his most rebounds in 14 games.

“He came with zero ego and has shown a lot of leadership with their basketball team, and he’s a very influential player on defense,” Jones said. “He’s one of those guys that gives you what you need.” Texas Southern leads Texas A&M Corpus Christi


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