Tevin Hammond pulled up just short of the 3-point line and let the shot fly. The ball sailed through the Texas air and landed a bit too long, clunking off the back of the rim and dropping harmlessly to the floor as the buzzer sounded.
Hammond and the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Lions had come up just a little short. Texas Southern had survived.
Before the scoreboard froze at 72-71 in favor of the Tigers, it looked like the Lions had cracked the code against Mike Davis' squad.
They began the game with a fury of forced turnovers that they quickly converted into points. They badgered Aaric Murray inside, bring back nightmares of his time within the Big East. They avoided Murray's long arms in the paint and started to find their shot from outside.
Well, OK, that last one took a little bit of time to get moving. Daniel Broughton went 1-for-11 from the floor before he caught the ball on the sideline near the Lions' bench and launched a 3-point shot that found the bottom of the net.
The 6-8 forward decided to try it again. He grabbed another pass from Hammond in the far corner and then swished it again.
The Texas Southern crowd started to worry: a guy who had made just eight 3-point shots all season had just hit two in a row against them, negating their Murray-sized advantage in the center.
Just for how, Broughton did it again 40 seconds later. And then again. Four 3-point shots in a row and now it was silent inside the Houston arena.
Then Hammond hit one. You are kidding right?
Only this is where things started to turn back in favor of the Tigers. Texas Southern wasn't content to let things turn this easy. They applied the pressure defense that had worked in the first half and began to turn things around.
That pressure defense? Why does it ever go away for this team? It works too well. And yet, the Tigers fail to execute it well on a consistent basis.
But this wasn't one of those times. Texas Southern took control of the late game, especially when getting the ball to Murray and forcing the Lions to come up with some answer for the man in the middle. He finished with 34 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. He shot amazingly well from the floor considering the double-teams that Arkansas-Pine Bluff tried to throw at him again and again.
And then there was the spark plug. D'Angelo Scott found his way to fire this team up. First he finished off a D.J. Scarver missed 3-pointer with a flying rebound and slam that fired up the crowd and at the time put the Tigers ahead by three.
Then in a feat that won't show up in any box score, he forced what might have been the most important turnover of the night.
As Arkansas-Pine Bluff attempted to inbounds the ball on the sidelines, Scott got his big arms in the way, causing the throw to be much higher than normal, and pushing Marcel Mosley nearer and nearer to halfcourt.
Mosley caught the ball and put his left foot down on the Lions' side of the court, but his momentum was too great from having to sky for the ball. His right foot went over the line and gave the ball back to the Tigers.
Texas Southern would use this opportunity to steal back the lead late in the game, and close it out.
It wasn't pretty. It wasn't how Mike Davis would ever draw it up. But it worked.
Sorry, Arkansas-Pine Bluff.