For the first time in 710 days, we had an NCAA Tournament game, and it was a battle. The Tigers from Texas Southern were the ones to break through, knocking off Mount St. Mary’s, 60-52, in the First Four. It was the Tigers’ second win in nine NCAA Tournament appearances.
The Mountaineers dictated the tempo in the first half and led throughout. This was due in large part to some poor shooting from TSU, which shot 27% from the field — uncharacteristic for a team that averages 74.6 points per game. The Mount also held the rebounding advantage, 22-17.
Mount St. Mary’s went into the locker room up 30-20 in a half that featured only five turnovers and three fouls. The second half was completely different, as it was a back-and-forth battle of runs.
Out of the break, Texas Southern was red hot and The Mount fell ice cold. The Tigers began it on an 11-0 run, regaining the lead for the first time since the opening minutes, at 31-30. Mount St. Mary’s answered with an 8-0 run of its own, but Texas Southern responded with an 8-0 one themselves. From there, the Tigers stayed ahead.
Heading into the final media timeout, The Mount did make it a game again, as Damian Chong Qui scored five straight for the Mountaineers. This cut the Tigers’ lead to two, at 52-50, but a foul on a Justin Hopkins three out of the break put a dagger into the Mountaineers’ chances.
Texas Southern will now look for its first Round of 64 win ever as it faces No. 1 Michigan on Saturday at 3 p.m. on CBS.