UAPB Men’s Hoops Celebrate Black Excellence and Senior Night in Win over Mississippi Valley

MBB seniors

PINE BLUFF, AR – In their last home game of the season and for some, the last time they will step foot on the court of H.O. Clemmons Arena, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff men’s basketball team secured a fashionable win against the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils with a final score of 93-79 on Saturday night.

For senior night and the final home game of the season, UAPB and HBE (Honoring Black Excellence), an Adidas Initiative, teamed up to celebrate the African American culture with a new set of jerseys to tell the story of black excellence at Arkansas-Pine Bluff and the Golden Lions would do just that.

Shawn Williams finished with a new career-high of 34 points, going 8-of-14 from downtown with three assists.

Kylen Milton added 23 explosive points with three rebounds, five assists, and four steals.

Dequan Morris followed with 20 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

Feeling good in their new uniforms, the Golden Lions came out with a hot hand early and did a great job keeping the run consistently throughout the first half.

Forcing a Mississippi Valley turnover, the Golden Lions gained control of the ball to go the other way, and their senior night started the right way. Williams knew the night was his, with his first shot of the game being a three-pointer. Not even one minute later, Williams sunk another three-ball to go 2-of-2 from beyond the arch early and tallying two straight Morris assists.

The night wasn’t just about Williams. However, Morris put lots of work into his pull-up jump shot throughout the season and made it effective against MVSU. Grabbing the rebound from a Devin Gordon miss, Morris went the other way to penetrate full speed at the rim and stop on a dime to elevate in the air, knocking down the jumper.

The sophomore, Milton also got involved big for the Golden Lions. With the basketball in the corner in Williams’ possession, the Delta Devils had strong intentions of trapping Williams. Reading the defense well and noticing the baseline was not cut off, Williams took two power dribbles towards the rim to perform a baseline-drive baseline-drift to a wide-open Milton in the other corner, resulting in Milton knocking down the corner three-pointer.

As a result of Milton’s three-pointer, he would return the favor to Williams, making the extra pass for the same effect of the ball swishing through the net. It didn’t stop there, however. With a one-point lead over Mississippi Valley (46-45), another unselfish pass from Milton resulted in another big Williams three-pointer to take a four-point lead, 49-45.

The two-man game lasted all first half between Williams and Milton, with each other trusting one another to make winning plays. Williams told Milton, passing the ball to Milton on the wing, “Work Kylen.” Hearing those green light words from Williams, Milton did what needed to be done to get to the rim and went up strong to draw lots of contact to sink the layup.

To make up for it, Williams knocked down another three to put the Golden Lions up at halftime over Mississippi Valley, 54-45.

Continuing the same scoring mentality from the first half, the Golden Lions’ energy expanded more and more from every made bucket, turning the competition into a show. Knocking down yet another three-pointer from another Milton assist, Williams back-peddled on defense, holding up three fingers high in the air to let new and visiting fans know who he is.

Establishing his point guard status against Mississippi Valley, Williams caught an outlet pass from a Milton rebound to push the ball ahead. Being the most athletic in any and every gym he steps in, Morris planted his feet for takeoff outside of the lane to catch an alley-oop pass from Williams, slamming the ball through the rim to get his parents in the stands on their feet in excitement.

From the alley-oop jam, Morris began to take over with a putback layup plus the foul to get the three-point play and would replay the same result on a fastbreak from a pass from Milton to add another three-point play in the scorebook.

Milton would steal the ball to shut the gym down to go the other way. Mississippi Valley would try to recover on defense, but that made no issue to Milton as he would get past his defender to jump off one foot in the paint for a vicious one-handed jam.

Williams’ goal was to go all out in his last home game inside H.O. Clemmons Arena. Taking a trip to the free-throw line and sinking both free throws, he would equal his career-high of 31 points set earlier this season against Portland, but that wasn’t enough for him. Taking a three-pointer from the corner, Williams would watch the ball fall through the net to set himself a new career-high of 34 points to check out the game with a new accomplishment and securing the victory against Mississippi Valley, 93-79.

“You can tell by Shawn’s style of play that he has his type of swagger, and I love to watch every minute of it,” said UAPB head coach Solomon Bozeman about Williams setting a new career-high in the victory over Mississippi Valley.

On Thursday, the Golden Lions will take their talents to Jackson, Mississippi, looking to get revenge against Jackson State at 7:30 p.m. at the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center.