A Grant Maxey bank shot with four seconds remaining in the second half proved to be the difference as Jackson State walked out with a 67-65 win over Grambling State at the Assembly Center on Saturday afternoon.
Grambling State got off to a slow start as the game began as JSU raced out to a 15-3 start six minutes in. Sensing the game slipping away, GSU head coach Larry Wright inserted guard Andre’ Ratliff off the bench and the senior responded with eight points to fuel a 12-2 run which reduced GSU’s deficit to 17-15 at the 11:31 mark.
The contest went back-and-forth after the run but JSU regained the upper hand and pushed its lead back to 10 on three occasions as the half came to an end. But in typical GSU fashion, the Tigers fought back and closed the half on a 6-0 run to enter the break down 35-31.
JSU outscored Grambling State 12-4 in the first four minutes of the second stanza to claim an early 47-35 advantage. Once again, GSU went on the offensive and shifted the momentum of the contest as they recorded a 21-4 run over the next eight minutes to claim a 56-49 lead. However, JSU countered and put together a 10-2 run from that point to regain a 59-58 margin with 6:12 left in the game.
The lead changed hands four times over the next three minutes with Jackson State moving ahead 63-62 after a Grant Maxey lay-up at the 3:07 mark. GSU’s Anthony Williams missed two baskets on back-to-back possessions but GSU remained within striking distance after Maxey turned the ball over. After a JSU timeout, Williams was fouled by JSU’s Jeremy Caldwell but missed the front-end of a one-and-one that would’ve tied the contest. Caldwell was fouled after grabbing the ensuing rebound and moved JSU ahead 65-62 with two free throws at the 1:23 mark.
A Maxey foul on GSU’s following possession sent Ratliff to the line with 1:07 left in regulation. Ratliff hit one-of-two free throws from the charity stripe to close GSU to within two (65-63) and GSU’s defense came up big on the opposite end as JSU’s Garrison Johnson missed a long three-point attempt with 34 ticks left.
With 29 seconds left, GSU took a timeout and executed its plan as Williams nailed a jumper in the paint with 16 ticks left. Unfortunately, JSU answered as time ran down with Maxey’s acrobatic bank shot and GSU didn’t have an opportunity to respond as time expired.
Maxey was a perfect 9-of-9 from the field en route to a 20-point night. Ratliff led GSU with 18 points and six assists while Jamal Breaux added 16 points and nine boards.
GSU returns to the court on Saturday, March 1 as they face Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 7:30 p.m. in the Assembly Center.