On traveling to Jackson State University the Grambling State University men’s basketball team sorely needed a victory in the Feb. 23 matchup.
The fact that this was a SWAC game only made the stakes higher.
Prior to the contest Jackson State’s (10-17, 7-7) last Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) win came against UAPB 65-52 on Feb. 4.
Meanwhile GSU was on a two-game slide not having won a game since Feb. 11 when they fell short 92-87 against Prairie View.
Both teams entered the matchup playing with a chip on their shoulders.
Both teams were in need of a win.
Grambling State (13-14, 7-7) was looking to keep Jackson State’s five game losing streak going and fought hard to come back to snap their two game losing streak. But this was not to be in the largely defensive game.
Jackson State jumped out early with a 9-5 lead and never looked back. The Tigers started the contest off slowly and were unable to gain ground, trailing the entirety of the game.
Grambling fought hard to keep the score close and decreased the deficit to six points with five minutes left in the half, but JSU pushed back with an 11-4 run to end the first half 38-24.
Grambling continued to fight back in this tough conference matchup. While the Tigers continued to narrow the margin within the final minutes of the game unfortunately GSU was ultimately unable to mount enough of a push to overcome Jackson State who finished with a 71-60 win.
Jackson State’s victory sealed a series sweep of Grambling giving them a tie in fifth place in SWAC standings with Grambling.
“(In the) first half we turned the ball over and made bad plays that resulted in them scoring,” Ivy Smith Jr. said. “Second half we started to fix those mistakes but it was too late to overcome.”
Smith led Grambling State with 19 points. Dallas Polk-Hillary added nine points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals.
GSU is preparing for another road match on March 2 against UAPB. Smith said the team is taking this week to work on improving their level of play and correcting mistakes.
“For the next game we just have to be more physical than the other (team) and not have so many mental errors,” Smith said.