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Texas Southern claims the SWAC tournament title 78-73

TSU and Aaric Murray (24) celebrate the 2014 SWAC tournament title
TSU and Aaric Murray (24) celebrate the 2014 SWAC tournament title
Lou Roesch

Aaric Murrray and the Texas Southern Tigers roared back from a 38-31 halftime deficit to claim their first SWAC tournament title since 2003 dropping the Prairie View A&M Panthers 78-73.
The Panthers rode the hot hand of Louis Munks (14 points) to a seven point halftime lead in the championship game of the 2014 SWAC tournament at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday but it was Murray and the Tigers who finished Prairie View’s improbable run. The eighth seeded Panthers (11-23) entered the tournament losers of seven straight but Head coach Byron Rimm II and his team pulled it together defeating Mississippi Valley State(79-63) in the tournament opener before upsetting the top seed Southern (64-46) and downing Alabama A&M (55-49) to reach the title game.
Ray Penn Jr.’s three at the 16:53 mark drew TSU even at 40 all of the second half. On the ensuing possession Prairie View’s Deondre Chapman missed two free throws and then drew the foul on the defensive end of the floor putting Murray, the SWAC Player of the Year at the charity stripe. The 6’10” 245lb center convered both free throws and TSU led 42-40.
“Once we got the lead, I knew it was going to be very difficult for us not to win the game if we made our free throws,” said Tigers Head coach Mike Davis. “Both these guys Aaric and Jose had a tremendous game.”
Murray, the SWAC tournament MVP, and 6-7 forward Jose Rodriguez were no match for Prairie View. Murray finished the night with 27 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 assists. Rodriguez added 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists giving the Tigers a lethal 1-2 punch.
TSU (19-14) extended its winning streak to nine in claiming their fifth SWAC tournament title in 13 tries and punching their ticket to the “Big Dance.”.
“This just the beginning,“ Davis continued. “I think we can do well in the tournament. I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t go in the tournament and play like a championship team. Aaric asked me why I wasn’t real happy or excited about the win (today)and I said we have more work to do.”

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