GSU’s hoops seasons end with SWAC tourney losses

GSU men's basketball coach Donte' Jackson (photo courtesy of GSU Athletics Communications)

It was a tough day for Grambling State on March 11 as both the men's and women’s teams were eliminated from the 2022 Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Both teams were coming off comfortable victories in the first round, with the men’s team defeating Southern and the Lady Tigers taking care of Alabama A&M.

The gain of momentum will prove to be not enough as the Tigers entered the semifinals of the tournament and fell short to both Alabama State and the defending SWAC champions, Texas Southern.

Alabama State 74, Lady Tigers 59

In an early game on March 11, the Lady Tigers took on the Alabama State Lady Hornets. The Hornets took advantage early, hitting on all cylinders on offense, while their defense took a toll on the Lady Tigers. GSU went scoreless for the end of the first and the early part of the second quarter. DeAndre'a Alexander broke the cold streak with a layup, but it was not enough as the Hornets were able to keep a 10-point advantage going into the half at 34-24.

GSU returned from the half motivated with a 7-2 run to trim the AAU lead down to 36-31, but Alabama State again continued to dominate the hardwood. The Lady Tigers tried to close the gap once more, even getting the score as close as 43-37, but the Hornets would not be denied as their offensive scheme kept rolling. The Hornets owned the rest of the fourth quarter, with the Lady Tigers trailing as much as 19 points as they dropped their second consecutive semifinals game.

Alexus Holt led the way in scoring for the Lady Tigers with 24 points, six rebounds, five assists, and one steal while Justice Coleman tallied 12 points, four rebounds, and one assist.

Texas Southern 73, Tigers 54

 Later in that afternoon, the men’s team faced off against Texas Southern with hopes of earning a trip to the SWAC championship. However, the TSU Tigers came prepared as they dominated all scoring runs throughout the game. TSU pressured the G-Men defensively by causing numerous turnovers and contested shots, leading to a crucial scoring drought from GSU to end and open the first and second half.

The GSU Tigers couldn’t really cut into the large deficit and ended up playing from mostly behind in the second half. Although the G-Men still showed solid effort, they never got closer to 19 points in the last 10 minutes, falling short to TSU. Shawndarius Cowart poured in 20 points, seven rebounds, three steals, and one assist for the G-Men while A'Mari McCray added 10 points and seven boards.

GSU ended its men's basketball season with a 12-20 overall record (8-9 in conference) as the sixth seed, while the Lady Tigers finished their season with a 14-16 overall record (10-8 in conference) as the SWAC women's sixth seed.