HOUSTON (AP) Malcolm Riley will need a stop for stitches on his way to the NCAA Tournament.
The junior forward led Texas Southern with 18 points and 10 rebounds in its 62-58 victory over Southern on Saturday night in the Southwestern Athletic Conference title game. But it was the shot to his head, rather than the seven he made, that turned the game.
With 27 seconds to go and Texas Southern down by one, Riley was fouled hard by Southern's Trelun Banks. After review, the referees ruled the foul a flagrant 2, giving TSU two shots that Deverell Biggs made and the ball.
''I just took one for the team,'' said Riley, who wore a bandage on his head and said he will get stitches in the deep cut. ''It was a big possession right there. I saw Biggs get the steal and I took off. I had an opening and I went up for the layup and he just close-lined me. The refs made a good decision.
''It was kind of, it was dirty, but it's all a part of the game. It comes like that. I just took one for the team.''
Banks was ejected and Texas Southern coach Mike Davis allowed to pick the shooter with Riley injured.
''I didn't know who to pick,'' Davis said. ''I was going to go with Madarious (Gibbs), I was going to go with Biggs and was kind of wavering. Madarious pointed at Biggs and Biggs pointed at himself, and he went in and made two really big free throws.''
Tre Lynch missed a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds to go that would have given Southern the lead, and Gibbs added another free throw to clinch it.
When asked about the validity of the call, Southern coach Roman Banks questioned the decision made on his son's foul.
''I thought he hard-fouled him,'' Banks said. ''I thought the way the guy took off in the air that it looked bad and worse than what it was. I think on this stage they thought they were doing the right thing. I don't know if it was a flagrant 2 in this type of game.''
The schools' women's basketball programs fought in their regular-season finale, leading to 15 players suspended and TSU's choosing not to participate in the conference tournament.
''Ain't no question about it,'' Banks responded when asked if the women's outcome was in the back of the referees' minds. ''I think they wanted to react on that. I think that had a lot to do with it as well what just happened between the two schools. Actually we've got a good relationship with them.''
Gibbs, the conference player of the year, went 4 for 15 from the field and finished with 12 points.
Freshman forward Jared Sam had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Jaguars.
Texas Southern (22-12) clinched its bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 90-77 win over Prairie View A&M in Friday's semifinal game, because Southern (18-17) was ineligible for the NCAAs for failing to meet APR requirements.
Southern is one of five schools from the SWAC ineligible for the NCAA Tournament due to APR issues. The school presidents took a vote to allow the five schools to participate in the conference tournament, a departure from years past.
TSU won the conference tournament and earned an NCAA berth last season. This marks the second time in TSU history the team will go to the tournament in back-to-back years, earning bids in 1994 and 1995.
Texas Southern: TSU's berth in the NCAA Tournament will be Davis' seventh trip of his career.
Southern: Southern's bench outscored TSU's 20 to 10.
PASSING THE TROPHY
Gibbs was awarded the conference tournament MVP to go along with his player of the year award. Gibbs turned and gave the award to Riley. ''(Madarious) gave his award to Malcolm Riley and that's really, really huge,'' Davis said. ''Both are MVPs on our basketball teams but for a young man to give up his SWAC MVP to a teammate is really, really big.''
Texas Southern: NCAA Tournament.
Southern: Season over.