Being the visiting teams in the first HBCU basketball games carried live by NBA TV Monday gave Grambling great exposure on a national, and even global, platform.
Unfortunately, neither squad could overcome their league-unbeaten opposition at Jackson State.
The Tigers battled down to the final seconds but fell 63-59. The Lady Tigers were overwhelmed by their Jackson State counterparts 82-68.
Both squads are on the road this weekend, playing Saturday at UAPB and Monday night at Mississippi Valley.
The NBA TV coverage included a live interview with Grambling legend Doug Williams between games and provided plenty of branding punch for GSU Athletics and the university.
But on the court, Jackson State had the most dynamic players in each contest. Preseason SWAC Player of the Year Tristan Jarrett poured in 26 points in the men’s game, while powerful post player Ameshya Williams piled up 20 points and 14 rebounds in the women’s contest.
Jackson State (12-4, 11-0) led the ladies contest throughout, going up 40-31 at halftime and not allowing Grambling closer than eight points afterward in the first meeting this season between the rivals. Grambling (7-8, 6-5) got 19 points by Alexus Holt, 16 from Ariel Williams and 11 by Candace Parramore.
The Tigers couldn’t get the upper hand in the men’s matchup, either, but mounted challenges.
Trailing by as much as 11 in the first half, Grambling (9-10, 7-5) closed within 27-21 at halftime. Jackson State (7-5, 7-0) opened a 50-36 lead with eight minutes left but Grambling went on a 12-1 run, capped by a dunk from Cameron Christon with 4:03 left, getting GSU within 51-48.
Jackson State responded with two straight 3-pointers from Jarrett to pad its advantage. Grambling kept battling and drew within 60-57 on a layup by Terreon Randolph with 10 seconds left, but never had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead. After a JSU free throw, Trevell Cunningham scored with three ticks remaining to draw the visitors within 61-59, but Jackson State successfully inbounded and got two free throws to ice it.
The outcome gave the hosts a season sweep, but it was a tougher win than their 75-61 victory in Grambling last month.
Prince Moss led the G-Men with 18 points while Criston scored 15 and snatched nine rebounds.
SOFTBALL: The much-delayed season began Tuesday in Natchitoches but not well. Northwestern State, considered a contender in the Southland Conference this spring, swept the Lady Tigers 10-0 and 9-1.
A sign of things to come: Grambling squandered a one-out triple by Morgan Adams in the second inning of the first game, and missed a good chance to break out on top. India Wells had two of the Lady Tigers’ four hits in that contest, but the visitors managed just one hit in the nightcap.
The River City Classic in Vicksburg Saturday and Sunday is next for Grambling.
SOCCER: The Lady Tigers made their season debut under new coach Craig Roberts at ULM Tuesday and put up a good fight, but were topped 2-0. The Warhawks ended a scoreless second half 10 minutes into play, then salted it away in the 87th minute.
Upcoming: SWAC home matches Friday at 3 (Prairie View) and Sunday at 1 (Texas Southern).
Picture – courtesy TayTapes870/GSUTigers.com