Mississippi State basketball entered its game with Southern University stinging from a loss to Georgia Tech.
“We’ve had plenty of time to stew on it and dissect it, learn to grow from it,” Mississippi State head coach Chris Jans said after the game. “I didn’t expect this, certainly. I don’t think anyone in that room would’ve expected this. We thought Tuesday was tough, and it’s going to pale in comparison to this.”
The Jaguars held the 21st ranked team in the nation scoreless during the final four minutes of play.
“We weren’t as aggressive looking back as we probably should’ve been against the press and trying to score and maybe get them out of it. We were almost satisfied to break it, and it’s a tough style to play against. Kudos to Coach (Kevin) Johnson, their staff and their players. They played really hard, and we expected them to play hard. They never gave up, and they stuck around. They found a way to win on the road.”
Now his team will look to pick up the pieces moving forward.
This is going to stay with us all year long, and there’s no way around it,” Jans continued. “We’re going to have to figure out how we move forward as a group, and it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be tough, and it’s going to challenge the fabric of our program.”
Southern got a big scoring boost of its own from Tai’Reon Joseph, who scored a game-high 27 points and also came away with the game-winning block.
“Tai’Reon Joseph is a very good player. Not only that, he’s a competitor,” Johnson told the media after the game. “You know a guy where we’re his fourth stop. But I’m a Louisiana guy, I watched him all through high school. He’s always been talented, and I’m just hoping him being at home gives him a chance to have a really good finish for his career. But there’s no question about his talent.”
Johnson is in his first year as head coach at Southern University after taking over for Sean Wood. He got his first win of the season over UNLV in the first week of the season, but nothing has come easy for him and his team.
“I’m so proud of them. We preach to them all the time to stick with it. We go down to Arizona – stick with it. We go down at Illinois – stick with it. Lose in overtime to Western Illinois, don’t hang your head, be ready for the next opportunity. Lose a tough game to Valparaiso. I mean think about these guys, eight road games in a row, those guys never once quit. So, that’s how proud I’m of our players.”
The win moved Southern University up to no. 206 in the NCAA Net Rankings. That puts it highest amongst SWAC schools and third amongst HBCUs behind Howard University (188) and Norfolk State (201).
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