Texas Southern guard Bryson Etienne came off the bench to score a game-high 21 points and forward Brison Gresham delivered on the interior with 13 rebounds and six blocked shots to lead the 16th-seeded Tigers to a 76-67 win over 16th seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi during Tuesday night’s NCAA Tournament First Four play-in game in Dayton, Ohio.
The Tigers (19-12) won their second straight First Four contest and third since 2018. They now will play No.1 Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday in Fort Worth.
TSU earned the trip Tuesday night by being the better and more experienced team on the floor. The Islanders are young and inexperienced while the Tigers returned the bulk of their team that defeated Mount St. Mary’s in last year’s First Four game before going on to meet Michigan in the first round.
TSU head coach Johnny Jones got a tremendous effort from his bench, which contributed 55 points with all of the Tigers double-figures scorers coming from the reserves. Forward Johnny Walker III had 16 points and six rebounds and guard P.J. Henry added 14 points and five rebounds.
With Gresham, a transfer to the University of Houston’s Final Four team last year, leading the way the Tigers outrebounded the Islanders 45-37.