State basketball: Southern’s Beltran, Miller, Banks score SWAC honors

The Southern men’s basketball team put two players on the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s first team, and the women had two players honored when the league announced its honors Friday.

Men’s guard Derick Beltran and forward Malcolm Miller earned first-team nods. Miller doubled as the league’s Newcomer of the Year, and Roman Banks shared Coach of the Year honors with Texas Southern’s Mike Davis.

Texas Southern guard Omar Strong was named Player of the Year; he, Texas Southern forward Fred Sturdivant and Arkansas-Pine Bluff center Terrell Kennedy join Beltran and Miller of the first team.

Guard Kendra Coleman earned a first-team spot for the SU women, and forward Lechell Rush was a third-team selection.

Men

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 74, NORTH TEXAS 55: In Hot Springs, Ark., Elfrid Payton scored 20 points, leading four ULL players in double figures, and the Ragin’ Cajuns pulled away in the second half for a victory in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

Bryant Mbamalu scored 16 points — 14 in the second half — and Alan-Michael Thompson also had 16. Shawn Long had 12 points and 11 rebounds for ULL (13-19), the No. 8 seed. The Ragin’ Cajuns will play regular-season champion Middle Tennessee on Saturday.

Jordan Williams led the Mean Green (12-20) with 19 points. Roger Franklin scored 13, and Tony Mitchell had 10 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Women

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 80, NORTH TEXAS 74, 2OT: In Hot Springs, Ark., the ULL women posted their first Sun Belt Conference tournament since 2007 by outlasting North Texas in double overtime.

No. 11 seed ULL (10-20) advanced to face No. 3 seed Western Kentucky in Saturday’s second round. The Ragin’ Cajuns put five players in double figures: Keke Veal (17 points), Sylvana Okde (16), Ashley Benjamin (13), Jasmin Mills (12) and Brandi Schambough (12).

Mills added 11 rebounds to make Garry Brodhead the first Cajuns coach to reach double digits in wins in his inaugural campaign since Mike Doucet won 10 in 1988-89.

UTEP 71, TULANE 52: In El Paso, Texas, Tulane lost its shot at a share of the Conference USA crown with a loss to UTEP.

The Miners (20-9, 8-8) opened the second half with a 23-2 run to put the game away. Center Anete Steinberga had 22 points to lead all scorers.

Olivia Grayson had 20 points and nine rebounds for Tulane (22-7, 11-6), which will be the No. 3 seed in next week’s conference tournament in Tulsa, Okla.