Courtesy of GSU Athletics
For the first time in school history, the Grambling State University men’s basketball program has picked up a pair of victories over Power 5 opponents in the same season.
In November, the Tigers led from start to finish in a home win over Colorado. On Friday, Grambling State held off a last-second shot in a 64-62 victory over Vanderbilt at Historic Memorial Gymnasium.
The victory also marked the first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) school to defeat Vanderbilt. The Commodores were 13-0 against teams from the SWAC and 34-1 all-time against Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) before Friday’s game. In addition, the win also evened the series at 1 between Grambling State and Vanderbilt.
Carte’are Gordon led Grambling State, despite fouling out, with 12 points five rebounds, two assists and one block. Shawndarius Cowart added 11 points, five assists, three boards and three steals. Virshon Cotton registered nine points, while Jourdan Smith and Jonathan Aku each finished with eight.
Tyrin Lawrence led Vanderbilt, which went the first eight and half minutes without a bucket, with 15 points, including 8-of-9 from the foul line, along with five rebounds and one assist. Colin Smith tossed in 13 points, eight boards and one assist, while Trey Thomas tallied 12 points, four assists and one rebound. Liam Robbins also added 12 points, including eight of those from the foul line, with six boards and one assist.
Grambling State (6-3) opened the game on fire as the Tigers raced out to a 10-0 lead after a putback bucket by Jonathan Aku with just under 17 minutes to play in the first half.
GSU extended the lead to its largest of the game, 14-2, after a layup by Shawndarius Cowart, but Vanderbilt used a 12-4 run over the next six minutes to close the gap to 18-14 after a layup by Tyrin Lawrence with 7:35 remaining.
The Tigers led 25-20 after a 3-pointer by Cameron Christon with 3:33 left and the Commodores cut the deficit to 27-24 at the break.
Vanderbilt (5-5) took its first lead of the night, 29-27, on a dunk by Lawrence, but back came Grambling State as the Tigers answered and grabbed a 40-34 advantage on a trey by Virshon Cotton and free throws by Aku.
The Commodores kept the game close, trimming the margin to 48-46 on a dunk by Liam Robbins, but Cotton sank a wide-open three at the other end as the Tigers led 51-46 with 7:35 remaining.
Grambling State stretched the lead to 53-46 on a Carte’are Gordon bucket with 6:43 left, but Vanderbilt continued to close the deficit as Lawrence sank a pair at the free-throw line to trim the margin to 55-53 with 4:40 remaining.
However, Vanderbilt, as part of a 12-2 run, took a 58-55 advantage on two free throws by Robbins with just under three minutes to play.
Free throws by Cowart and a dunk by Malik Lamin gave Grambling State a 63-60 lead with 54 seconds left.
The Commodores got two free throws by Lawrence to cut the deficit to 63-62 with 35 seconds remaining and Grambling State called a timeout with 17 seconds left.
A jumper in the paint by Cowart hit the back iron and was pulled down by Jourdan Smith, who was fouled with 3.5 seconds left.
Smith sank the first shot, but missed the second as Ezra Manjon pulled down the rebound with 3.2 seconds left with GSU leading, 64-62.
Vandy, which went the last 2:49 without a field goal, had one last gasp as Robbins’ 3-point attempt hit the front iron as Grambling State picked up the road win.