In college basketball, February separates the contenders from the pretenders. A four-game win streak has coach Donte’ Jackson’s Grambling Tigers emerging as a contender.
Home games Saturday and Monday night can confirm that status. Grambling hosts Texas Southern Saturday in a Southwestern Athletic Conference doubleheader (3 p.m. women, 5:30 men) and Prairie View is slated to visit the Fred C. Hobdy Assembly Center Monday night (5:30, 7:30), weather permitting.
The Tigers have developed a knack for making the decisive plays in the closing minute. In the last four wins, three have been settled then, including Monday’s 67-62 victory at Alcorn State.
Grambling (9-8 overall, 7-3 in the SWAC) sits in third place in the league race, trailing Prairie View (7-4, 6-0) and Jackson State (6-5, 6-0). Texas Southern, with former LSU coach Johnny Jones in charge, is in the neighborhood (6-7, 3-2).
Grambling won the first meeting with TSU on Jan. 16 in Houston, 78-72, as Cameron Christon scored 18 and Sarion McGee added 16. Two nights later, Prairie View posted a 59-50 home win over the G-Men.
At 12.5 points per game, Christon has the Tigers’ only double-figure scoring average overall. That average bumps up to 13.0 in SWAC games, where McGee is adding 10.8 per contest.
Following a pair of close road losses, the Grambling women (6-7, 5-4) have slipped off the SWAC pace but figure to end that two-game skid when Texas Southern arrives. Coach Freddie Murray’s squad rolled to a 68-47 road win at TSU on Jan. 16.
Alexus Holt (14.0 ppg), Justice Coleman (12.3) and Candice Parramore (10.4) are leading the Lady Tigers scoring in SWAC games. Holt has averaged 17 points while leading Grambling in scoring each of the last three outings.