Gritty Alabama State men’s basketball team is SWAC’s most dangerous

Meet Alabama State. There might not be a more dangerous men’s basketball team in the SWAC right now.

The gritty Hornets are winners now of 7 straight, most recently against league-leading Texas Southern — and convincingly, 60-48. That was just the second loss of the season in Southwestern Athletic Conference play for the Tigers.

“Coming in, they had won eight in a row, we had won six,” Hornets coach Lewis Jackson said after the win, “so I guess it was the two hottest teams, but I still think overall they’ve got the best team in the league.”

Even so, Alabama State’s remarkable streak has included wins over Mississippi Valley State (a rare 90-point night for the defensive-minded Hornets), Prairie View and Alabama A&M, its in-state league rival. That has some players thinking there’s a new best-team-in-the-SWAC: “Alabama State,” senior Tramayne Moorer told The Montgomery Advertiser. “They’re No. 1, but we’re going to finish on top.”

Next up on Thursday for the Hornets: Jackson State, which has been in second place down the stretch — but slumped into March, losing four of seven. Alabama State closes out its SWAC season against a resurgent Grambling, which has righted itself behind Justin Patton, the SWAC’s leading rebounder and its third-leading scorer coming into March.

They’ll need the points. Through this win streak, Alabama State has allowed just 55.9 points a night. Six of those seven losing teams have been held under 40 percent shooting. Texas Southern began with just 12 first-half points, and the Hornets forced 17 turnovers before Monday night’s drubbing was over. Southern, in an eventual 63-50 loss, was held under 30 percent shooting in the second half.

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