Garland, TX – Derick Beltran scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, as the Southern University Jaguars held on to beat the Prairie View A&M Panthers, 45-44, in the SWAC Tournament final.
The top-seeded Jaguars (23-9) are headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 after surviving a late Prairie View A&M (15-19) flurry.
Even at 38-38, Southern put together what looked to be a game-sealing 7-0 run, capped by Beltran's uncontested layup with 1:41 remaining.
The fourth-seeded Panthers, however, still had some fight in them.
After Jules Montgomery hit a jumper, the Prairie View A&M press defense forced consecutive turnovers, leading to baskets by Carl Blair and Montrael Scott, the latter set up by a Jourdan DeMuynck steal.
With the Panthers opting not to foul, Southern let the shot clock wind down before Jameel Grace fired up a 3-pointer that was short.
DeMuynck snagged the defensive rebound with under 10 seconds remaining and dribbled the length of the court. As DeMuynck moved into the lane, he lost control of the ball and was unable to attempt a would-be game-winning shot.
YonDarius Johnson had eight points for Southern, which led 22-19 at halftime.
DeMuynck finished with 15 points and nine rebounds for the Panthers, who appeared in the league championship game for the first time since winning their only title in 1998.
Blair logged 12 points, while Montgomery had eight points and 12 rebounds ... Both teams shot 33.3 percent ... Southern held a 14-7 edge in made free throws.