Luther Page had the first double-double of his career, coming off the bench to score 12 points, pull down 10 rebounds and even hand out a pair of assists as Alabama State advanced to the semifinals of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament with a 64-51 win over Alcorn State in Houston’s Toyota Center on Thursday afternoon.
The Hornets (19-11) will play hometown favorite Texas Southern (17-14) on Friday at 2:30 p.m. In the other semifinal matchup, Prairie View, a surprise winner over Southern, will play the UAPB-Alabama A&M winner on Friday at 8:30 p.m. An Alabama A&M victory would eliminate the last of the ineligible teams barred from NCAA play because of APR grades.
In Thursday’s win, the Hornets fell behind early, managing just six points (all from Tony Armstrong) in the first 10 minutes of the game. ASU battled back to trim the deficit to 24-22 at the half and took its first lead of the game on a Maurice Strong basket, his first of the game, for a 29-27 lead with 15:06 left.
In the final seven minutes, ASU took a 46-42 lead and extended it, going on a 20-9 run to close out the game with a strong performance from Page and DeMarcus Robinson, who had an off night shooting from the perimeter but drove the lane for some of his points and grabbed the rest at the free-throw line.
Page, whose previous career high was nine rebounds, had only the fourth double-digit scoring performance of his career in a SWAC game, but two of them have come against the Braves. He had 20 points and six rebounds at Alcorn on Jan. 25.
Jamel Waters led the Hornets with 16 points. Armstrong and Robinson added 10 points each.