Hornets fall to Texas Southern


Mason T. Smith, Sports Editor

The Hornets faced off against the highest-scoring Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) team, Texas Southern. In the end, they could not get over the hump as the Tigers defeated the Hornets 86-76.
TSU’s Michael Weathers, a fifth in the conference averaging 14.7 PPG, scored a game-high 23 points and finished with seven rebounds. Karl Nicholas and John Walker III each contributed 14 points with strong interior play.
With Jordan O’Neal out with an ankle injury, someone needed to step up for the Hornets, and that someone was Jordan Cousin. The 6-foot-7 transfer from John A. Logan started for the first time at Alabama State, and he responded by going for a team-high 21 points on 58% shooting, including going 4 of 7 from the 3-point range.
When asked about his stellar performance, Cousin was humble about the opportunity to get extended minutes. “I feel really good. I’m glad I could come out and help the team.”
Cousin has not always received a lot of playing time throughout the season, but as head coach Mo Williams highlighted, he has definitely put in the work. “He’s been a work in progress,” Williams explained, “but I’ll tell you what: over the last three weeks, he’s done everything that’s been asked of him. Even when he was playing four or three minutes, those were good minutes. Tonight he got some extended minutes, and I think he was one of our best players, if not the best player on the floor.”
Kenny Strawbridge was second on the team with 19 points and five rebounds, while LaTrell Tate scored 16 points on 3 of 5 shooting from downtown. Brandon Battle struggled to get anything going throughout the game, finishing with only nine points and nine rebounds in the loss.
The Hornets simply came out flat in the first half; they did not play with any energy or competitiveness, and the Tigers came out and attacked early. “Good things happen when you compete… we didn’t compete at all in the first half,” Williams’ touched on, “Second half we competed. We gave ourselves a chance but just ran out of time.”
The lack of energy in the first half led to the Hornets being down by 21 at halftime. While it was a bad first half, they completely turned it around in the second, outscoring Texas Southern 48-37. The most significant difference was on the defensive end, where they forced 12 second-half turnovers for 14 points. Like coach Williams said, they ran out of time.
The loss can also be due to two major factors: first, the Hornets had zero bench points to the Tigers’ 22. For a team that has struggled throughout the season to score, not having an extra boost can be crucial, especially when senior guard DJ Heath goes 0 of 5 from the floor.
Second, the paint’s first half difference was by an astounding 24 points (30-6). The paint margin was more even in the second (18-14), but that is tough for any team to come back from.
Hopefully, the Hornets can pull out a win on Monday, as they will take on Prairie View A&M for Senior Night and the last home game of the season.