Basketball season opens

The road to the big dance has begun. That’s right. College basketball just kicked off.Last week Grambling State went to the Lone Star State for two tough games.

The first game was in Waco, Texas, where the Tigers matched up against one of the best teams in the country, the No. 14 Baylor Bears. This was a big game and Grambling came up short with the final score being 87-52 Baylor.

“If we keep our mental, then we should be fine,” head coach Robert Washington said prior to the game.

Washington said his guys were more excited than focused against Baylor and he noticed that as soon as the game started, when No. 33 Chris Britt-Black earned the team a technical foul before the game even started.

“We got 10 new guys and they weren’t nervous,” Washington said. “If anything, they were hyped up.”

After Baylor nailed the two technical shot free throws that made the score 2-0. They went on a 9-0 run before Brandon Wilson scored the G-Men’s first bucket.

“We did not execute our game plan,” Washington said of Baylor’s quick start.

The Tigers shot only 29 percent from the field while Baylor shot 52.5 percent.
Washington said the Bears “have a couple of future pro guys, and we are looking for an identity.”

Even though the Tigers lost to Baylor, there were some positive things that came out of that game. Brandon Wilson, a transfer student who plays forward, and guard YonDarius “Buckets” Johnson had terrific games against good competition.

Wilson finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. Johnson finished with 12 points in 17 minutes.

Coach Washington said that’s definitely something to build from.

For the next game, the G-Men went to Houston to play Rice University, a team in conference USA.

In the Rice game, there was a change in the lineup. In the Baylor game, the point guard position was occupied by Raschard Boatner; but, against Rice, Washington decided to switch to Rupert Rose as point guard.

Coach Washington said, “This is a young team. We are still finding combinations with our guys.”

Grambling matched up a little better against the Rice Owls than they did with Baylor. At halftime in the Rice game, the Tigers were down by only seven points, 34-27.

With a score that close at the half, it’s almost shocking that GSU lost 86-57.

At the 9:47 mark in the second half, the Tigers were down only 10 points. It was downhill from there.

Coach Washington said his guys became unfocused and unglued.

“As a team we have to keep focused for 40 minutes,” Washington said.

But there are always some positive things in the stat book. In the Baylor game the Tigers had two players in double figures.

In the Rice game the team had a more balanced offense. Forward Justin Patton finished with 10 points, Wilson finished with 14 and guard Donald Qualls finished with 17.

“Every game our goal as a team is to get better and I want to see every player contribute,” Washington said.

The coach is not discouraged by his losses.

“We got a group of guys who can really play,” he said. “We’re just inexperienced and we need to learn how to win.”

The team’s next game is against Arkansas tonight, then they will be coming home Saturday to play Florida Gulf Coast in their first home game. The Tigers won’t return to the Fredrick C. Hobdy Arena until Dec. 11 when they play Central Arkansas.

against Florida Gulf coast. With 3 games going to be under there belt they should have got out all the jitters and come out excited and ready to win. I asked coach for a prediction of the first home game and he simply said “keep Focused Maximum effort then we should be fine” Come out and support the Grambling St basketball team it should be an exciting fast past game filled with high flying dunks.

Next Game 11/20 6 p.m. Florida Gulf Coast