CORRECTION: UAPB had lost three straight games prior to Monday's victory.
CORRECTION: UAPB had lost three straight games prior to Monday’s victory.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff had to rebound from another lengthy scoring spell and Savalace Townsend’s one-point first half. Mitchell Anderson helped the Golden Lions do that off the bench.
Anderson scored 25 points and blocked six shots in only his seventh game as a reserve this season, helping UAPB end a three-game slide with a 73-69 victory over Jackson State on Monday at H.O. Clemmons Arena. Anderson shot 10 of 16 from the floor, 5 of 6 free throws and grabbed six rebounds in 34 minutes.
“When we were warming up, we were kind of dead and we needed some energy and nobody else was bringing energy,” the junior swingman from Chicago said. “Since I had been coming off the bench, I figured I had to bring some kind of energy to get us going.”
Townsend finished with 16 points after hitting 5 of 8 field goals — he shot 5 of 6 in the second half. While the SWAC’s leading scorer came up short of his 17.1-point per game season average, Anderson more than doubled his 9.8-ppg mark, scoring eight of UAPB’s last 10 points of the first half and 14 of its first 18 in the second.
“We’ve been stressing to him to shoot the basketball,” Lions coach George Ivory said. “Tonight I benched him again because he won’t shoot the basketball. I don’t know why.”
But Townsend was benched for only 5 minutes.
The Lions (3-19, 2-7 SWAC) stormed back from a 23-10 deficit, going without a field goal for 8 minutes until Lazabian Jackson hit a pull-up jump shot with 6:31 left in the first half. That started a 14-0 rally by the Lions over the next 4 minutes, but the Tigers (5-16, 3-6) still took a 30-28 lead into halftime despite shooting 37.9 percent (11 of 29) from the floor.
Jackson State pushed the lead back up to 38-30 with 16:47 left in the game, but Anderson was just resuming his scoring tear. He dunked off his own steal to bring UAPB within 48-44 and later finished an alley-oop from Jackson, but Jackson State pushed the lead up to seven twice, settling on a 62-56 lead with 4:10 left after a three-point play.
“We knew Mitch had the potential to do that all along,” Ivory said of the scoring tear. “That’s what we’ve been waiting on him to have, a breakout game.”
Townsend then scored four of UAPB’s next six points, and Daniel Broughton connected off a double pump-fake with 1:50 left to give UAPB a 64-62 lead, its first since 24-23.
The advantage grew to 68-62 after two Broughton free throws and Townsend’s dunk off a long inbound pass, but Christian Williams cut the margin in half with a three with 38 seconds remaining. Jackson then missed two free throws, but Anderson blocked a three-point attempt and Clay Johnson hit the second of two foul shots with 23.7 seconds left. That was the first of five straight free throws the Lions made, and the Tigers could not pull within any closer than two points from there.
UAPB shot 52.2 percent from the floor (24 of 46) and 75.9 percent (22 of 29) from the line. Jackson State finished 41.9 (26 of 62) and 78.6 percent (11 of 14) respectively.
Broughton had eight points and Lavoris Weathers added seven for UAPB. For Jackson State, which is missing senior leading scorer Jenirro Bush for the rest of the season with a reported torn Achilles tendon, got 18 points from Christian Williams, 14 from Willie Readus, 11 from Keeslee Stewart and 10 from Kelsey Howard.
LION NOTES: UAPB coaches wore tennis shoes as part of a Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Challenge campaign to raise awareness of the disease. … The Lions had 13 of their 18 turnovers in the first half, while the Tigers finished with 12. … It was announced during the game UAPB linebacker Bill Ross was named the Little Rock Touchdown Club football player of the year. … Attendance was 2,871, the lowest of the season at Clemmons Arena and down from Saturday against Grambling State by 853.