ASU Basketball tops Alcorn State, 78-63

Philip Crawford scored 27 points and Ryan Watts added 19 off the bench to lead Alabama State University (10-15/7-6 SWAC) to a 78-63 win over Alcorn State (7-18/5-9 SWAC).

Crawford scored his points on 11 of 15 shooting and he also hit five of his seven free throws.  He completed the double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds.  His previous career-high was 21 points against Reinhardt University back on Dec. 30.

"He (Crawford) had a great game for us tonight," head coach Lewis Jackson said.  "He hit the boards and rebounded well and was pretty decent from the free throw line and he was a force around the basket and that is what we need from him.  That was the best game I have seen from him and we hope to continue to get that type of effort from him the rest of the season."

Watts scored all of his points in the second half after going oh-for-3 in the opening half.  He turned that around knocking down six of his eight field goal attempts, and that includes three-for-three from beyond the three-point line and he also hit four of his six free throws.  His previous high was 15 points against Texas Southern back on Jan. 30.

"He (Watts) had a great second half for us," head coach Lewis Jackson said.  We tell him if he has the open shot to take it, but do not try and force the issue.  He took some open shots and tonight they were falling for him and he gave us a great lift off the bench."

The Hornets never trailed in the game, but Alcorn hung around and only trailed 45-42 after Anthony Nieves field goal with 13:31 left in the game.  From there the Hornets began to pull away and outscored the Braves 33-21 the rest of the way.

Watts played a big role in ASU pulling away as he scored nine consecutive points from the 4:32 mark until the 2:47 mark.

ASU shot 52 percent in the second half (13-25) as they continually worked the ball into the paint to Crawford.  The Hornets also held a 20-rebound edge (46-26) and had seven blocked shots on the evening.

Ivory White scored 11 points and almost joined Crawford with a double-double, but finished the game with nine rebounds.  Tramaine Butler got close to scoring his 1,000th career point, finishing the game with 10.  He now needs only seven points to reach the milestone.

Ian Francis and Martrevious Sanders came off the bench to lead Alcorn State in scoring.  Francis, who was a perfect five-for-five from the field, finished with a team-high 14 points while Sanders had 12.  Ken McDonald had 10 points and a team-high four assists.

ASU finished the game shooting 46 percent from the field and Alcorn State shot 42 percent.  The Hornets had another less than stellar night at the free throw line where they connected on only 19 of their 34 attempts (56 percent).

The game started out well for the Hornets as they hit their first three shots and went on to lead by as much as 11 (16-5) after a Luther Page free throw at the 11:24 mark.  Alcorn would not go away as they begin to chip into that lead and Kevin Francis' bucket with four seconds left in the opening half cut the lead to 35-31 at the half.

Alcorn State shot 52 percent (13-25) in the first half while the Hornets cooled off making only 42 percent (13-31) of their field goal attempts. Martrevious Sanders came off the bench to score 10 points for Alcorn and Crawford led the way with 11 points while Butler and White added nine each for the Hornets.

ASU will host Southern University Monday, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m.