The Tigers won’t have to share the title with anyone either as Grambling State won the championship outright with a 66-64 victory over Alabama State on Saturday night at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
Grambling State (17-14 overall, 13-5 SWAC) captured its first SWAC regular season crown since the 1988-89 season, and also picked up its first winning record since the 2005-06 campaign.
The Tigers and Hornets were locked at 38 at the half, but The Grambling State outscored Alabama State, 28-26, in the second half to pick up the victory.
Ivy Smith, Jr. paced the Tigers offense with 17 points, six rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block. Shirmane Thomas chipped in 14 points, six assists, one block and one steal, while DeVante Jackson registered 13 points and six rebounds.
Reginald Gee led Alabama State (8-21, 8-9) with 16 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Terrance Leflore added 12 points, three rebounds and three assists, while Rodney Simeon tallied 11 points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist.
Alabama State led 28-17 after a 3-pointer by Reginald Gee with 11:11 remaining in the first half, but Grambling State used a 21-10 run to close out the first half tied at 38.
Grambling State led by nine, 54-46, after a jumper by Ivy Smith, Jr. with 9:49 remaining.
However, the Hornets cut the deficit down 55-54 after a 3-pointer by Gee with 7:30 remaining, but that was as close as Alabama State would get as the Tigers survived the final seconds to capture the two-point win.
Inside the Numbers
· Grambling State shot 45.1 percent (23-of-51) from the floor and 76.0 percent (19-of-25) from the free-throw line.
· Alabama State was 23-of-65 (35.4 percent) shooting and 4-of-9 (58.5 percent) from the charity stripe.
· The Tigers finished with 41 rebounds, with 30 coming on the defensive end.
· The Hornets tallied 41 rebounds, including 18 coming on the offensive glass.
· Grambling State registered 22 points in the paint, 12 off turnovers and 14 second-chance points.
· Alabama State scored 16 points in the paint, 11 second-chance points and 12 points off turnovers.
· There was one lead change and two ties.
News & Notes
* Grambling State has outright won the 2017-2018 SWAC regular season men’s basketball title, which has not been done since the 1988-1989 season.
* The Tigers split the season series with Alabama State
* The last time Grambling State finished with a winning record was during the 2005-06 season.