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Tigers book their fourth trip to NCAA tourney

3/15/2003

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Texas Southern's Ronnie Courtney isn't sure what waits for his team in the NCAA Tournament. He just knows the Tigers are going.

"No idea, but I know it's going to be some good basketball played,'' Courtney said after Texas Southern defeated Alcorn State 77-68 Saturday night to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference title. "We're excited to be going. We don't care who, or where, or when, we're just excited.''

Allan Lovett scored 23 points and Ra'Kim Hollis had 18 points
and nine assists for Texas Southern (18-12), which also went to the
NCAA Tournament in 1990, '94 and '95. Lionel Willis added 12
points.

"I can't do anything without my right-hand man here (Lovett), but he said he got my back,'' said Hollis, the tournament MVP. "He said we would win.''

Brian Jackson had 19 points and eight rebounds to lead Alcorn
State (14-19), last year's conference champion. Tori Harris added
19 points and seven rebounds, and Jason Cable and DeAndre Jones had
10 points apiece.

"I don't think we played very smart, and that's No. 1,'' Alcorn State coach Davey Whitney said. "They got their momentum up and we never could recover from it.''

Texas Southern used a nine-point run in the first half to take control and led 40-30 at the break.

Jones hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to 71-66 with
a minute to play, but the Tigers shot 6-of-10 from the foul line in
the final minute to seal the victory.

The Braves shot 33 percent for the game, including 6-of-30 from
3-point range. Texas Southern hit 51 percent of its shots.

It was the final game for Whitney, who won 12 SWAC titles during
his 27-year career.

"Basketball has been good to me, so you can't have any regrets,'' Whitney said. "I've won enough of everything, so I can't have any regrets.''