The Texas Southern University men’s basketball team showed up and showed out for the HBCU community on Monday night.
The Tigers went into Gainesville, Florida, and dominated the 20th ranked team in the country by beating the University of Florida Gators, 69-54. At one point in the game, Texas Southern led by 18 points on Florida’s home court.
The game also provided two new installments in Black history: It was the first time a team from the all-Black Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC) team has beaten a ranked SEC team in the Associated Press poll era, or since the 1948-1949 season, according to ESPN.
For head coach Johnny Jones, the win over Florida last night makes him the first SWAC coach in the history of the conference to have multiple wins over AP ranked teams according to ESPN Stats and Info.
What makes the win even more remarkable is the fact that the Texas Southern Tigers were 0-7 before coming home with the biggest win of the young HBCU basketball season.
PJ Henry’s 16 points and Joirdon Karl Nicholas 7-7 performance with 14 points helped lead the way for Texas Southern in the victory. John Walker also had 13 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in the contest.
The Tigers have played one of the toughest early schedules of any team in all of HBCU basketball. They have lost to Oregon, Washington, and North Carolina State just to name a few. But for anyone new to HBCU basketball this is not unusual for Texas Southern. In 2018, the Tigers made headlines for beating a ranked Oregon on their home floor but that game was way closer than the whooping they gave Florida on Monday night.
The Tigers usually like to challenge themselves early in the season with tough opponents to gear up for the SWAC conference play. It also doesn’t hurt to rack up some of the payout money that the Power Five schools have to pay for scheduling a smaller program like Texas Southern.
Florida came into that game as a 23.5 favorite last night and today they are trying to bounce back from their first loss to a SWAC opponent in 27 games.
While they have gotten off to a slow start, Texas Southern was an NCAA tournament team last season and they proved they can play with some of the big-time programs.
These Power Five programs better be careful before they underestimate another HBCU squad.