SWAC Men’s Championship
#2 Jackson State 81, #1 Mississippi Valley State 71
March 10, 2007
BIRMINGHAM – Jackson State guard Trey Johnson showed why he is the best player in the Southwestern Athletic Conference this season.
Johnson scored 13 points in the first five minutes of the SWAC Tournament championship game against Mississippi Valley State, then scored seven points during a game-breaking 9-0 run as the second-seeded Tigers defeated the top-seeded Delta Devils 81-71 Saturday at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Arena.
Johnson scored 33 points and earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors. With the victory, the Tigers (21-13) earn the SWAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Delta Devils (18-15), by virtue of finishing first in the regular season, will play next in the National Invitational Tournament.
“I though our guys showed a lot of toughness today, mental toughness and also physical toughness…and they preserved when they had to preserve at the end in order to preserve our victory and to reach a big victory for our university”, said JSU coach Tevester Anderson.
Jackson State wasted a 20-point, first half advantage. But Johnson made two free throws with 4:31 remaining to give the Tigers the lead for good. He added a lay-up on the next JSU possession and closed the run with a 3-pointer that gave the Tigers a 74-65 lead with less than three minutes on the clock.
Johnson made 7-of-11 from the field and scored 19 points in the first half. Outside of Johnson’s hot shooting, the Delta Devils buried themselves with 16 first-half turnovers, which led to 19 Jackson State points.
Jackson State led 45-29 at halftime but watched the lead melt when Mississippi Valley opened the second half on a 16-6 run that cut the deficit to 51-45 with 12:50 remaining. A Kadrian Bryant offensive rebound and put-back brought the Delta Devils within 59-57 with less than 10 minutes to go.
Mississippi Valley finally erased the big deficit when Tychicus Snow drained a 3-pointer with 5:35 left to tie the game at 65. The Delta Devils had an opportunity to take the lead with 4:39 remaining. But Jefferey Price missed two free throws, which started the game-clinching run by Jackson State.
“Although we had some opportunities once the game was tied, I felt like we rushed ourselves a little bit in that stretch of time but you can’t fault our kids”, said MVSU coach James Green.
Grant Maxey, who made the All-Tournament team, scored12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Jackson State. Carl Lucas scored 22 points and Snow, also a member of the All-Tournament team, added 15 points for Mississippi Valley.
SWAC Men’s All-Tournament Team
Tych Snow – Mississippi Valley State
Grant Maxey – Jackson State
Jacques Jones – Texas Southern
William Byrd – Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Trey Johnson – Jackson State
Most Valuable Player:
Trey Johnson – Jackson State