Grambling comeback bid falls short versus Jackson State

From Grambling State Sports Information:

JACKSON, Miss. | The Grambling State University men’s basketball team trailed by as many as 17 and cut the margin to five with 1:29left, but GSU could not overcome such a huge deficit in a 71-60 loss to Jackson State in a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) game on Saturday at the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Activity Center.

Grambling State (13-14 overall, 7-7 SWAC), which have dropped its last three games, trailed, 38-24, at the break, but outscored Jackson State in the second half, 36-33.

Ivy Smith, Jr. led Grambling State with 19 points, four rebounds, two steals and a pair of assists. Dallas Polk-Hilliard registered nine points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals.

Chris Howell paced four Jackson State players with 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. Jayveous McKinnis recorded 16 points, while Venjie Wallis added 13 points. William Brown poured in 11 points.

Turning Point

Jackson State raced out to a 9-5 advantage early, but a Dallas Polk-Hilliard 3-pointer trimmed the margin to 9-8 with 17:29 left in the first half.

GSU trailed, 15-12, after a Prince Moss jumper with a little less than 14 minutes remaining, but Jackson State used an 11-4 run, capped by a William Brown jumper, to take a 26-16 advantage with 9:43 left.

Grambling State cut the margin to six (28-22) after an Axel Mpoyo dunk with 5:50 left, but Jackson State pushed the advantage to double-digits  as Brown’s jumper with two seconds left sent Jackson State into the break with a 38-24 advantage.

GSU trimmed the deficit to 46-36 after a Moss 3-pointer with a little over 11 minutes remaining, but Jackson State extended the advantage to 53-36 after a Jayveous McKinnis layup with 9:10 left.

A Devante Jackson jumper with 4:31 remaining cut the Jackson State lead to 57-47, and Grambling State continued to chip away at the big margin as Ivy Smith, Jr. sank a pair of free throws with 1:44 left to close the gap to 61-56.

However, that would be as close as Grambling State would get as Jackson State was able to seal the game at the free-throw line.

Inside the Numbers 
> Grambling State shot 39.6 percent (19-of-48) from the floor and 88.9 percent (16-of-18) from the charity stripe
> Jackson State was 24-of-45 (53.3 percent) from the field and 18-of-35 (51.4 percent) from the foul line

> GSU registered 30 rebounds, including 22 on the defensive glass

> JSU pulled down 32 rebounds, with 23 coming on the defensive end

> Grambling State finished with 24 points in the paint, 16 points off 12 JSU turnovers, 14 bench points, seven second-chance points and six fastbreak points

> Jackson State recorded 22 points in the paint, 18 points off 14 GSU turnovers, 15 bench points, 11 second-chance points and two fastbreak points

News & Notes
> GSU was predicted to win the conference and are defending its regular season crown

> Grambling State leads the conference in 13 different categories

> Dallas Polk-Hilliard paces the Tigers with seven double-doubles

> Ivy Smith, Jr. leads the conference in assists per game, free-throws made and total assists

Up Next
Grambling State will take a week off before returning to the court on March 2. GSU will visit Arkansas-Pine Bluff at the H.O. Clemmons Arena.

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