HOUSTON — Yettra Specks scored 20 points, including eight free throws in the final minute, and Jackson State held off Mississippi Valley State 74-68 Friday to advance to the championship game of the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament.
Raeford Worsham added 11 points with a career-high tying 15 rebounds and Kaven Bernard scored 10 with 11 boards for the third-seeded Tigers (19-14), who face the Southern-Texas Southern winner on Saturday.
Specks hit 3-pointers on three-consecutive possessions and scored 12 during a 17-4 run that gave Jackson State a 53-42 lead with 8:22 left. MVSU trimmed its deficit to five about 4½ minutes later, but Specks scored 11 from there to seal it.
Marcus Romain had 19 points and Isaac Williams 15 for the seventh-seeded Delta Devils (8-27).
Jackson State outrebounded the Delta Devils 48-33 and converted 13 offensive boards into 11 second-chance points. The Tigers hit 10s and made 20 of 26 free throws.
ALABAMA STATE 64, GRAMBLING 50: In Houston, top-seeded Alabama State women advanced to face No. 2 Southern in the title game of the Southwestern Athletic Conference by beating Grambling.
The Lady Hornets (18-11) overcame a nine-point third-quarter deficit against the fourth-seeded Lady Tigers, who finished 17-14.
Southern and ASU split in the regular-season as the road team won a tight game each time. The Lady Hornets won 60-59 in overtime on Jan. 23 in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. The Jaguars won 57-55 on Feb. 20 in Montgomery, Ala.
Both teams finished with a 12-4 conference record, but ASU was seeded first by virtue of a three-way tie-breaker that also included third-seeded Texas Southern.
This is a rematch of last year’s SWAC tournament title game, which the Lady Hornets won 73-55.