Big Runs power Alabama State past Grambling 74-53

Courtesy of Grambling Sports Information:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. | Two big runs – one late in the first half and one at the beginning of the second half – proved to be the difference as the Grambling State University men’s basketball team opened Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) play on Saturday with a 74-53 loss to Alabama State at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome.

Grambling State (6-8 overall, 0-1 SWAC) gave up a 14-5 run late in the first half and surrendered a 16-3 run to begin the second half in dropping the SWAC opener.

Dallas Polk-Hilliard led the Tigers with 14 points, on 6-of-14 shooting, along with six rebounds, one block and one steal. Ivy Smith, Jr. registered 12 points, six assists, two boards, two steals and one block. Nigel Ribeiro and Lasani Johnson each recorded eight points.

AJ Farrar paced Alabama State’s offense with a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds, along with two blocks and one steal. Reginald Gee added 17 points and 10 boards, while Jacoby Ross posted 13 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Ed Jones chipped in with 10 points and one block. 

Turning Point
Grambling State led, 14-11, after an Ivy Smith, Jr. jumper with 12:53 remaining in the opening half, but Alabama State scored the next three points to tie the game at 14 after a Leon Daniels free throw with 12:17 left.

The Hornets (3-9, 1-0) led, 20-17, until a Travon Bunch dunk cut the margin to 20-19 with 8:16 left in the first half. Alabama State took advantage of sluggish shooting by Grambling State and used a 14-4 run to grab a 34-24 lead after a 3-pointer by Farrar with just over three minutes remaining in the half.

A Reginald Gee bucket, along with a 3-pointer by Jacoby Ross, extended the lead to 41-28, but Nigel Ribeiro’s 3-pointer at the buzzer cut the deficit to 41-31 at the half.

The Hornets opened the second half on a 10-0 run, capped by a Ross 3-pointer, to extend the halftime lead to 51-31 with 14:53remaining.

Grambling State could not recover from the huge deficit in falling to Alabama State.

Inside the Numbers 
> Grambling State shot 32.1 percent (18-of-56) from the floor and 63.2 percent (12-of-19) from the charity stripe
> Alabama State was 27-of-63 (42.9 percent) from the field and 9-of-16 (56.3 percent) from the foul line

> The Tigers registered 35 rebounds, including 27 on the defensive glass

> The Hornets pulled down 49 rebounds, with 35 coming on the defensive end

> Grambling State finished with 27 bench points, 22 points in the paint, 21 points off 15 Hornet turnovers and seven second-chance points

> Alabama State recorded 29 bench points, 16 points in the paint, 17 second-chance points and 11 points off 15 Tiger turnovers

> There were five lead changes and three ties

News & Notes
> Grambling State split the season series last year

> The Tigers were predicted to win the conference and are defending their regular season crown

> Grambling State opened last season (2017-18) with three straight losses, followed by 11 consecutive wins

> The Tigers lead the conference in 14 different categories

> Tigers head coach Donte’ Jackson remains one victory shy of 150 for his collegiate coaching career

Up Next
Grambling State concludes its three-game road trip on Monday against Alabama A&M. Tip-off against the Bulldogs is set for 7:30 p.m. at the T.M. Elmore Gymnasium.

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