For the second time in school history, the Grambling State University men’s basketball team has defeated a member of a Power 5 conference.
Grambling State (2-0) led from start to finish on Friday night as the Tigers held off Colorado, 83-74, in the SWAC/Pac-12 Legacy Series at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly.
GSU’s last victory over a member of a Power 5 conference came on Dec. 1, 2017, as the Tigers edged Georgia Tech, 64-63, in Atlanta.
“It’s nothing like playing at home,” GSU head coach Donte` Jackson said., “There’s nothing like playing in front of your family and friends and being able to compete at a high level. I just really appreciate everybody coming out and making it a good crowd.”
Shawndarius Cowart paced four players in double figured with 19 points, on 6-of-12 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers. Cameron Christon and Terrence Lewis registered 17 and 15 points, respectively, while Carte’Are Gordon chipped in with 17 points.
KJ Simpson led Colorado with 16 points, while Nique Clifford added 15 points. J’Vonne Hadley posted 12 points and Jalen Gabbidon tallied 11 points.
On Friday night, Grambling State, playing fast and pushing the tempo from the start, grabbed the early advantage, racing out to a 10-4 lead after a thunderous two-handed dunk by Carte’Are Gordon with just over 16 minutes left and GSU continued its offensive output, extending the lead to 17-6 as Terrence Lewis outraced the Buffs defense for the layup with 13:57 remaining.
The Tigers, who shot 51.5 percent in the first half, opened the game shooting 43.8 percent and out-rebounded their Pac-12 opponent 11-5, including six off the offensive glass, through the first eight-plus minutes in building a 20-9 advantage.
Colorado, which shot 37 percent from the floor in the opening half, closed the gap to 24-16 after a pair of free throws by Javon Ruffin, but Grambling State used a 13-2 run over the next 3:30 minutes, capped by a Cameron Christon jumper, giving the Tigers a 37-18 advantage with 6:13 left in the half.
Buckets by Gordon, Cowart and Virshon Cotton gave the Tigers their largest lead of the first half, 43-24 with 2:24 left.
However, the Buffs used a 8-0 run over the final two minutes of the half to close the deficit to 43-32, but Cowart’s buzzer-beater sent the Tigers into the break with a 46-32 advantage.
“That was an incredible momentum changer,” Jackson said about the buzzer-beater. “Colorado started pushing and taking the momentum and Shawndarius Cowart hit a big three. It kind of seized that momentum and was kind of a backbreaker. It helped pushed us with the momentum going into halftime.”
Grambling State started the second half strong, getting a tip-in by Malik Lamin and a dunk by Gordon to extend the lead to 50-34.
The Buffs (1-1) forced the Tigers into foul trouble early as Grambling State picked up its sixth team found just six minutes into the second half as Colorado closed the deficit to 54-41.
Terrence Lewis and Zahad Munford drained back-to-back 3-pointers as GSU continued to play aggressive on the defensive end and shooting the lights out on the offensive end as the Tigers led 60-45 with 12:47 remaining.
Colorado got a free throw by J’Vonne Hadley and back-to-back layups by Jalen Gabbidon as the Buffs continued to close the gap, trailing 60-49, and forcing Grambling State to call a timeout with 11:35 left.
The Buffs cut the margin to 60-51 with just over 11 minutes to play, but the Tigers used a 9-2 run, capped by a free throw by Smith to extend the lead back to double digits, 69-53, with 7:40 remaining.
Colorado got a dunk by KJ Simpson, but Lewis drained a trey at the other end as GSU led 73-57 with just over four minutes to play.
The Buffs got aggressive on the defensive end and used a 7-0 run to cut the double-digit deficit to 73-64 with 3:20 remaining.
Colorado continued to play from behind, using a small 6-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Simpson as GSU’s lead was trimmed to 77-70 with 1:28 left.
Down the stretch, Grambling State proved to be too much as the Tigers sealed the game at the free-throw line, before picking up their second victory over a Power 5 school in the Division I era.
Courtesy: Grambling State Athletics