Courtesy of Brian Howard, Grambling State Athletics
Grambling 6-5,0-0 SWAC
Liberty 8-4,0-0 ASUN
LYNCHBURG, Va. | Three Grambling State University men’s basketball players reached double figures in scoring on Monday as the Tigers could not overcome a poor shooting second half in a 75-56 loss to Liberty at Liberty Arena.
The Tigers, who led by as many as 12 points late in the first half, trailed 33-32 at the break, but could not overcome 34.6 percent shooting from the floor in the second half in dropping their second straight road contest.
Cameron Christon and Shawndarius Cowart each poured in 13 points, while Carte’are Gordon registered 10 points. Christon added four rebounds, one steal, one assist and one blocked shot, while Cowart tallied five boards, four assists and two steals. Gordon pulled down five boards, while adding two blocks and one assist.
Darius McGhee had himself a night with 36 points, including nine 3-pointers, to pace the Liberty offense. He added five rebounds, five steals and one assist.
Grambling State (6-5) held a slim 9-8 lead through the first five minutes of the game on buckets by Christon, Virshon Cotton and Gordon.
Liberty (8-4) went ice cold from the field, going more than six minutes without a bucket as the Tigers used an 11-1 run, capped by a Zahad Munfordlayup, to extend the margin to 20-9 with 10:31 remaining in the opening half.
GSU, which shot 60 percent (15-of-25) during the opening half, pushed the advantage to double-digits, 24-13, on a driving layup by Christon with just over eight minutes left.
The Flames snapped another shooting spell with a dunk by Blake Preston, cutting the deficit to 26-18 with 5:27 remaining, but a layup by Cowart gave the Tigers a 28-18 advantage with just over five minutes left in the half.
Liberty responded during the final five minutes of the half with a 15-4 run, capped by Brody Peebles 3-pointer, sending the Flames into the break with a 33-32 advantage.
The Tigers opened the second half strong, racing out to a 37-33 advantage after a Christon trey, with 19:07 remaining.
A 3-pointer by McGhee gave the Flames a slim 39-37 lead, but Cowart answered at the other end, tying the contest at 39, with 16:16 left.
Grambling State went cold from the field as Liberty scored the next seven points, grabbing a 46-39 advantage with 14 minutes remaining.
A Gordon bucket snapped a nearly four-minute scoreless streak for the Tigers as GSU trailed, 46-41 with 12:43 left.
However, the Flames pushed the advantage to double digits, 51-41, on a driving layup by Mcghee with just over 11 minutes to play.
Liberty stretched the lead to 56-42 with 9:31 left, but a three-point play by Malik Lamin cut the deficit to 56-45 with 8:33 remaining.
The Flames got back-to-back treys by Mcghee, pushing the margin to 62-45 with just under seven minutes to play as the Tigers could not recover from the huge deficit.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Grambling State shot 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from the floor and 38.5 percent (5-of-13) from the free-throw line
- Cameron Christon registered 13 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot
- Shawndarius Cowart tallied 13 points, five boards, four assists and two steals
- Carte’are Gordon registered 10 points, five boards, two blocks and one assist
- The Tigers finished with 36 points in the paint, 15 bench points, 11 points off eight Liberty turnovers, nine fast break points and two second-chance points
- Liberty went 23-of-56 shooting (41.1 percent) and 15-of-20 (75.0 percent) from the charity stripe
- Darius McGhee was the lone Liberty player in double figures with a game-high 36 points, including going 9-for-13 from beyond the 3-point line, along with five rebounds, five steals and one assist
- The Flames finished with 25 points off 17 Grambling State turnovers, 18 points in there paint, 14 bench points, six second-chance points and three fast break points
Grambling State wraps up its four-game road swing with a visit to No. 17/18 Wisconsin. Tip-off against the Badgers is set for 7 p.m. from the Kohl Center and the game will be streamed live on the Big Ten Network and fans can hear the broadcast on 99.3 FM The Peach.