When the final buzzer sounded, the Alabama State University Hornets walked off the basketball court defeated after a 67-70 loss due to the Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University Panther’s late-game heroics. The Hornets took on the Panthers on Jan. 22 at the William J. Nicks Building in Prairie View, Texas.
Both teams are known for their offenses as the Hornets are ranked third in the SWAC in scoring, and the Panthers rank second. But the Hornets were without their leading scorer Gerald Lidell. Junior guard E.J. Clark scored the game’s first bucket after hitting a pullup jumper. The two squads spent the opening minutes of the first half trading buckets until the Panthers took a 12-7 lead before the first timeout.
After the timeout, freshman guard Juan Reyna and junior Isaiah Range knocked down a pair of threes to give the Hornets the lead. But Panthers guard Jeremiah Gambrell responded to each and every bucket with a three. E.J. Clark and junior Kenny Strawbridge hit key shots to extend the Hornets lead going into halftime 34-28. In the first half, the Hornets scored 13 points off Panther turnovers, which helped them maintain the lead.
In the second half, the Hornets started slowly as the Panthers hit three straight three-point shots to take a 35-34 lead. But junior forward Trace Young led the Hornets on a personal 5-0 scoring run to retake the lead 46-41. But once again, the Panthers hit back-to-back threes to take a 47-46, forcing a Hornet timeout. After the timeout, Reyna matched the Panthers with consecutive threes of his own. The Hornets continued to extend the lead by as much as eight after Strawbridge’s 6-0 run.
During the last minutes of the second half, both teams traded key buckets, but with 39 seconds remaining, Panthers guard Gambrell launched another three to give the Panthers a 70-67 lead, forcing a Hornet timeout. The Hornets had one last chance after Reyna got an open shot, but he missed.
The Hornets did not guard the three-point line well for the second half. The Panthers shot 58% from the three-point line. They allowed Gambrell to pour in eight threes in total, which were a huge part of his 26 points.
Head coach Mo Williams spoke on the loss after the game, “It was a hard-fought game. We played a good team on the road and had an opportunity to win the game. It was one of those games where the last team with the ball was going to have to make a play. They made the play and won the game.”
The Hornets will continue their road trip on Jan. 24 to Texas Southern University, ranked No. 1 in the SWAC.