After starting the season by playing six road games in 15 days, Texas Southern only recently was able to get some time off between games for its players to rest their bodies. That rest paid off as the winless Tigers outplayed No. 20 Florida from start to finish in a 69-54 upset of the Gators at the O’Connell Center on Monday.
Texas Southern entered the game ranked No. 273 in the NCAA’s NET rankings which made its debut Monday. The Tigers started the season with a brutal schedule that included losses at Oregon, Washington, NC State and BYU.
But that didn’t matter when Texas Southern took the court vs. the Gators. The Tigers (1-7) shot 54.4% from the field including 45.5% from 3-point range and outrebounded Florida 46-23. Junior guard PJ Henry scored 16 points and forward John Walker II scored 13 points to lead Texas Southern.
The Gators (6-2) were hoping to bounce back from a loss at Oklahoma last week and a home game against Texas Southern should have been just what they needed.
Instead Florida, a 23.5-point favorite according to Caesars Sportsbook, lost for the first time in 27 games against Southwestern Athletic Conference team. It was the first time a SWAC team beat a ranked SEC program according to ESPN Stats & Info. Ranked SEC teams had been 51-0 against teams from the SWAC.
Florida got 15 points from Brandon McKissic, but struggled all night vs. the Tigers. The Gators shot 38.2% from the field and were just 5-of-24 from 3-point range.
Texas Southern coach Johnny Jones, a former coach at LSU, improved his record to 2-2 against UF coach Mike White.
The Tigers have made five NCAA Tournament appearances since 2014 but were predicted to finish fourth in the SWAC’s preseason poll.