Tigers survive scare in victory over Jaguars
Tigers head coach Donte’ Jackson earns career win No. 150
GRAMBLING, La. | The Grambling State University men’s basketball team led by as many as 21 points in the first half and saw the lead evaporated in the second half, but the Tigers got buckets down the stretch by Ivy Smith, Jr., Devante Jackson and Anthony Gaston in a 69-63 victory over Southern in a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) game on Saturday at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.
With the victory, Grambling State head coach Donte’ Jackson earned his 150th career coaching victory.
Grambling State (7-9 overall, 1-2 SWAC), which saw its three-game losing streak end on Saturday, dominated the first half, shooting nearly 56 percent in taking a 40-22 advantage into the second half. However, Southern shot 61 percent in the second half and rallied from as many as 21 down to grab a 57-56 advantage with 4:55 remaining.
Gaston led three Tiger players in double figures with 17 points, two rebounds and one assist. Smith registered 16 points, four boards, four assists and a pair of steals, while Dallas Polk-Hilliard chipped in 10 points, a team-high six rebounds and one assist.
Jayden Saddler paced Southern (1-15, 0-3) with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. Richard Lee tallied 11 points and one steal.
Grambling State raced out to a 25-6 lead after a Lasani Johnson 3-pointer with just under 10 minutes left in the opening half and the Tigers built a 37-16 advantage after two free throws by Prince Moss with 3:52 remaining.
Southern got a 3-pointer by DeRias Johnson to close the gap to 40-22 right before half.
The Jaguars used a 19-7 run to cut the deficit to 50-44 after a Jayden Saddler layup with 11:30 remaining and trimmed the margin to 54-53 after a Saddler jumper with 8:43 left.
Southern grabbed its only lead of the second half, 57-56, after a dunk by Sidney Umude with 5:53 left, but Grambling State answered and pushed the margin to 61-57 after a bucket by Anthony Gaston with 4:28 remaining.
The Jaguars cut the deficit to 62-61 after an Umude jumper with 3:26 left, but Devante Jackson scored on a putback and a dunk to give the Tigers a 66-61 advantage with just over two minutes remaining.
Southern could not overcome the five-point margin down the stretch as Grambling State picked up its first conference victory.
Inside the Numbers
> Grambling State shot 49.0percent (24-of-49) from the floor and 63.6 percent (14-of-22) from the charity stripe
> Southern was 23-of-53 (43.4 percent) from the field and 11-of-15 (73.3 percent) from the foul line
> The Tigers registered 33 rebounds, including 23 on the defensive glass
> The Jaguars pulled down 30 rebounds, with 19 coming on the defensive end
> Grambling State finished with 32 points in the paint, 19 bench points, 15 points off 18 Jaguar turnovers, nine second-chance points and four fastbreak points
> Southern recorded 33 bench points, 30 points in the paint, 22 points off 19 Tiger turnovers, 13 second-chance points and eight fastbreak points
> There were three lead changes and two ties
News & Notes
> Grambling State split the season series last year
> The Tigers were predicted to win the conference and are defending their regular season crown
> The Tigers lead the conference in 11 different categories
> Grambling State head coach Donte’ Jackson reached milestone win No. 150 with Saturday’s victory
> There will be a ticket giveaway, sponsored by the Favrot Student Union Board, for the Texas Southern game on Saturday, Jan. 19.
Grambling State concludes its short two-game homestand on Monday night against Alcorn State. Tip-off against the Braves is set for 7:30 p.m. from the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.
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