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December 2019
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NCAA First Four Game Notes: Prairie View A&M ready to play Fairleigh Dickinson





PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – Ready set go!  The Prairie View A&M men’s basketball team will be heading to Dayton, Ohio for the first round of the NCAA tournament when they face Fairleigh Dickinson at the University of Dayton Arena.

The game is set for Tuesday, March 19 for a 5:30 p.m. central time tip-off.  The winner of the First Four contest will advance to play #1 seed Gonzaga in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday.

The Knights of Fairleigh Dickinson finished as the Northeast Conference (NEC) champions with a 20-13 overall record.  The Panthers finished as the Southwestern Athletic Conference Champions with a 22-12 over record.

Both teams come into the contest red-hot!

The Knights have won eight straight games. The Panthers have won 11 games in a row.

This will be the third time in the history of the two programs that these teams would have met.  The first time was on November 15, 2001 with the Panthers defeating the Knights 77-66.  The second meeting was on November 24, 2012 with Fairleigh Dickinson taking the win with an 84-70 victory.

This will be the second time that the Panthers would have played in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  In the 1998 game the Panthers faced Kansas falling 110-52.

“It’s an exciting time for our student athletes here at Prairie View A&M,” Mr. Fred Washington the Vice President/Athletics Director said.  “It’s an exciting time to be a Panther.  It is special how the world views our men’s basketball program, so it’s a very special time.”

The last time the Prairie View A&M’s basketball team won the SWAC tournament was 21 years ago (1998), and the athletic department would like to invite all #PVNation, fans, friends and family to contribute $21 dollars or more to the PV Pantthers SWAC Championship campaign.  Here is the link for more information on how to contribute the campaign -


PVAMU in the NCAA Tournament (W-L: 0-1)
First NCAA Tournament appearance and first SWAC Championship since 1998 (21 yrs.)
1998 – L, 52-110 to #1 Kansas

Scouting Prairie View A&M
The Panthers won their opening game at Santa Clara 81-64 before dropping their next 11 games prior to SWAC play. Once they entered conference action, the Panthers were nearly unstoppable as they rolled to an 18-1 overall record and captured the SWAC Championship for the first time since 1998. The team is led by senior guard Gary Blackston, who was named the SWAC Tournament MVP, and led the team with 17 points, six steals and four rebounds in their conference championship game against Texas Southern 92-86 this past Saturday. Blackston’s 15.2 points per game tops the Panthers, while junior Devonte Patterson and junior Gerard Andrus average 13.4 and 10.0 points, respectively. Defensively, Dennis Jones spearheads an attack, which averages 8.8 steals per game – 14th-most in the country. Jones earned SWAC Defensive Player of the Year honors after nabbing two steals per contest.


  • Byron Smith is in his third full season at the helm of the Panthers and has led the team to its first SWAC Championship in 21 years and first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.After serving the previous three seasons as an assistant coach, the Bossier, Louisiana native served as interim head coach over the final 12 games of the 2016 season. Prior to Prairie View A&M, Smith ran a basketball performance business in the Houston area. Collegiately, Smith spent one season (2009-10) at Texas Southern and helped the Tigers advance to the championship for the first time since 2003. Smith served as an assistant coach at Texas A&M and helped lead the Aggies to consecutive NCAA  appearances. Smith was a standout player at UH from 1989-91, twice earning All-Southwest Conference honors under Coach Pat Foster.