Brandon Williams, Southland Conference, reports timely free throw shooting and a dominating edge on the offensive glass propelled the Privateers to a 68-65 overtime victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the Merrell Center, giving the program its first Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the first for top-seed New Orleans since 1996.
The Privateers (20-11) trailed by 10 points in the first half and were down nine early in the second half before forging their way back into the contest. Neither team led by more than four points after Michael Zeno’s layup drew New Orleans into a 42-42 tie with 12:22 left in regulation. The game became the first Southland Conference Men’s Tournament final to go into overtime since Sam Houston State outlasted rival Stephen F. Austin to capture the 2003 title.
Rebounding, especially on the offensive end, proved to be a golden ticket for New Orleans. The Privateers owned a 40-25 edge on the glass, but it was their 19 offensive rebounds that helped keep them in the contest. The ability to control the paint resulted in a decisive 21-2 in second chance points for the Privateers.
2017 Southland Conference Men’s Basketball All-Tournament Team
Tournament MVP: F – Erik Thomas, New Orleans
G – Christavious Gill, New Orleans
F – Leon Gilmore III, Stephen F. Austin
G – Cole Martinez, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi
F – Rashawn Thomas, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi
Sugar Bears of Central Arkansas surge past SFA for second straight tournament title
The Central Arkansas Sugar Bears shook off a slow start to seize control of Sunday’s Southland Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in a 60-35 win over Stephen F. Austin at the Merrell Center.
SFA, which averaged more than 77 points per game in conference play, was held to less than half that total as the Ladyjacks shot a frigid 27.3 percent from the field.
After spotting the Ladyjacks (25-7) a quick 5-0 lead, the Sugar Bears worked back into the contest, taking the lead for good on Maggie Proffitt’s three-pointer with 4:42 left in the first quarter. A three-point play by Stevi Parker allowed SFA to close within 13-12 at the 1:36 mark, but Central Arkansas scored the last five points of the quarter to own an 18-12 advantage.
2017 Southland Conference Women’s Basketball All-Tournament Team
Tournament MVP: G – Maggie Proffitt, Central Arkansas
F – Stevi Parker, Stephen F. Austin
F – Taylor Baudoin, Central Arkansas
G – Taylor Ross, Stephen F. Austin
G – Kassie Jones, Texas A&M