Alcorn State did something most teams don't do they beat Southern University on their home court and because of it they get to go to the NCAA tournament.
"This game was about will and stamina, and that's what I harped on this morning," Alcorn State coach Davey Whitney said. "We had to have the will to win. We talked about will. And we survived."
Wallace Harris scored 22 points Saturday as Alcorn State (22-6) snapped Southern's 20-game home court winning streak with an 89-83 victory. It gave the Braves their first Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament championship since 1984 and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
"A lot of people didn't give us much of a chance because the game was here on Southern's home floor", said Eddrick Wheaton, who scored 15 points for Alcorn. "But we believed we could win."
The Braves led by as many as 22 points in the first half, then held on after Southern (21-7) trimmed the margin to three points midway through the second half.
"We played a great half of basketball," Southern coach Tommy Green said. "I'm very proud of this group. There are a lot of teams in this country who would like to be 22-7 at this point of the year. I thought we answered the bell this year and today was one of those days we didn't answer the bell."
Alcorn pulled away in the first half with a 33-12 run capped by Harris' inside basket for a 39-18 lead with 5:40 remaining. Reuben Stiff, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, made a layup with eight seconds left for a 54-32 halftime lead.
Southern rallied in the second half but never got closer than three points at 66-63 on small forward Aaron Bates' 3-pointer from the wing with 10:17 to play.
The Jaguars closed to four points in the final minute at 85-81 on Devan Clark's 3-poin play with 32 seconds remaining, but Alcorn scored the next four points on two free throws by forward Karl Jones with 27 seconds left and Harris' dunk with 11 seconds to play.
In addition to Harris' 22 points, and Wheaton's 15, Terrance Cameron had 13 and Jones had 11.
Southern, which reached the conference's championship game for the first time since 1993, had five players in double figures. Bates and Dionte Harvey each had 16, Kendrick Davis added 13, Adarrial Smylie had 12 and Clark 11.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed