Grambling Men’s Basketball advance to SWAC semifinals

From Grambling Sports Information:

GRAMBLING, La. | The Grambling State University men’s basketball team built a 12-point first-half lead and held on late down the stretch for a 59-52 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday night in the 2019 Toyota Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Men’s Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

Grambling State (17-15), the fourth seed, secured its first back-to-back winning season since 2004-2006. The Tigers advance to Friday’s semifinals and will meet top seed Prairie View A&M at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham, Ala. The semifinal game will be streamed live on ESPN3. The Panthers earned a spot in Friday’s semifinals with a 86-66 victory over Alcorn State on Tuesday. Arkansas-Pine Bluff closes out the season with a 13-19 record.

Devante Jackson came off the bench to pace Grambling State with 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one block. Ivy Smith, Jr., who earned All-SWAC Second Team honors on Tuesday, registered 10 points, three assists, three boards and one steal.

Shaun Doss led Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 11 points, seven boards, two steals and one block, while Martaveous McKnight added 11 points, five rebounds and one steal.

Turning Point

Arkansas-Pine Bluff led 11-10, with 12:03 remaining in the first half, after a bucket Martaveous McKnight, but Grambling State used a 14-3 run over the next six minutes and grabbed a 24-14 advantage after an Ivy Smith, Jr. 3-pointer with 6:35 left.

The Tigers extended the margin to 31-19 after an Anthony Gaston 3-pointer with 4:11 left and GSU took a 36-25 advantage into the break.

The Golden Lions kept the game close in the second half and cut the double-digit deficit to 45-41 after a Christian Robertson putback with 9:16 remaining, but the Tigers pushed the margin to 51-43 after a free-throw by Zavier Peart with 6:31 left.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff refused to go away and trimmed the margin to 54-50 after a McKnight bucket with 2:32 left, but that would be as close as the Golden Lions would get.

Grambling State sealed the game at the foul line with free throws by Devante Jackson and Dallas Polk-Hilliard.

Inside the Numbers 
> Grambling State shot 40.5 percent (15-of-37) from the floor and 71.4 percent (25-of-35) from the charity stripe
> Arkansas-Pine Bluff was 18-of-54 (33.3 percent) from the field and 11-of-20 (55.0 percent) from the foul line

> GSU registered 38 rebounds, including 34 on the defensive glass

> UAPB pulled down 29 rebounds, with 22 coming on the defensive end

> The Tigers finished with 22 bench points, 16 points in the paint, six points off 10 UAPB turnovers and six second-chance points

> The Golden Lions recorded 20 points in the paint, 14 bench points, nine second-chance points and six points off 13 GSU turnovers

News & Notes

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

> Grambling State leads the conference in nine 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

> Ivy Smith, Jr. surpassed the 1,000-point plateau against Mississippi Valley State (3/4/19)

> Ivy Smith, Jr. was named to the All-SWAC Second Team on Tuesday

Up Next
Grambling State, the fourth seed, advanced to Friday’s semifinals and will meet top seed Prairie View A&M at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham, Ala. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3.

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