Prairie View loses 45-44 to Southern U. in SWAC
GARLAND, Texas (AP)
Prairie View coach Byron Rimm really thought his team was about to be headed to the NCAA tournament.
Jourdan DeMuynck grabbed a rebound and drove the length of the court with the clock running down. Instead of a game-winning shot, he wound up in a heap on the floor as Southern University held on for a 45-44 victory in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament championship game Saturday.
''It's disappointing. They played great and deserved to win,'' Rimm said. ''We were right there. Jourdan was half a foot from the basket to laying it up. I thought Jourdan was going to make the layup and win this game. Things like this happen.''
The Panthers (15-19) scored the game's last six points, but DeMuynck was out of control when the ball came loose as he tried to pass. DeMuynck fell to the floor under the basket, where he was next to Southern's Derick Beltran when the buzzer sounded to end the game.
DeMuynck said he was ''definitely'' fouled and was trying to pass to Montrael Scott in the corner.
Beltran had 13 points with a late steal and breakaway layup for the last points by Southern (23-9), which is going to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.
When coach Roman Banks got to Southern University less than two years ago, the Jaguars were coming off a last-place finish in the SWAC while facing reduced scholarships and a one-season NCAA ban on postseason play because of inadequate academic progress.
Now, much sooner than Banks could have ever imagined, the Jaguars going to the NCAA tournament. Prairie View's only appearance came 15 years ago.
''I'm full of emotions right now,'' Banks said. ''All the adversity we had to come through, I wouldn't have thought it in my wildest dreams. ... But we'll definitely take this early ride.''
Two weeks earlier, Southern ended the regular season with a 22-point victory over the Panthers. The largest margin this time was seven points, the largest lead for both teams.
Prairie View's women are going to the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row, and fifth time in seven seasons. The Lady Panthers outlasted Mississippi Valley State in four overtimes for the women's SWAC tournament title earlier Saturday on the same court.
Blair had 12 points and Montgomery scored eight points with 12 rebounds.
''I thought we were going to pull it out,'' Blair said. ''It feels like a bad dream right now.''
Beltran was the only player in double figures for Southern, which shot 33 percent from the field (15 of 45).
Prairie View, which also shot 33 percent (17 of 51), tied the game six times after halftime, including DeMuynck's 3-pointer to start the second-half scoring for a 22-all score. The Panthers went ahead only once.
Ryan Gesiakowski made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 32 with 10:05 left, and Blair scored on a leaner off the glass to put Prairie View up 34-32. Yondarius Johnson then scored five points in a row for Southern, including the tying two free throws with just over 9 minutes left.
With 4:04 left, DeMuynck rebounded his own miss, and was fouled trying another shot. He missed the first free throw, but made the second for the game's eighth and final tie, 38-all.
Southern went ahead to stay on Brandon Moore's strong putback.
Right before Beltran's steal and layup, Grace had an inbound pass to Moore underneath the basket for a quick jumper to make it 43-38.
''In some situations we panicked a little bit. They want to win, they're not selfish kids. They played good basketball. It was a one-point game in a 40-min game. It's hard to call somebody winners and somebody losers,'' Rimm said ''I thought we'd be in the NCAA tournament, I had no doubt in my mind we'd beat Southern. It's a bittersweet day.''