Grambling pulls off upset, defeats Colorado, 83-74

Courtesy of Brian Howard, Grambling State Atheltics




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 Grambling 2-0

COLORADO32 42 74
Grambling46 37 83

GRAMBLING, La. | For the second time in school history, the Grambling State University men’s basketball team has defeated a member of a Power 5 conference.

Grambling State (2-0) led from start to finish on Friday night as the Tigers held off Colorado, 83-74, in the SWAC/Pac-12 Legacy Series at the Fredrick C.. Hobdy Assembly.

GSU’s last victory over a member of a Power 5 conference came on December 1, 2017 as the Tigers edged Georgia Tech, 64-63, in Atlanta.

“It’s nothing like playing at home,” GSU head coach Donte` Jackson said., “There’s nothing like playing in front of your family and friends and being able to compete at a high level. I just really appreciate everybody coming out and making it a good crowd.”

Shawndarius Cowart paced four players in double figured with 19 points, on 6-of-12 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers. Cameron Christon and Terrence Lewis registered 17 and 15 points, respectively, while Carte’Are Gordonchipped in with 17 points.

KJ Simpson led Colorado with 16 points, while Nique Clifford added 15 points. J’Vonne Hadley posted 12 points and Jalen Gabbidon tallied 11 points.

On Friday night, Grambling State, playing fast and pushing the tempo from the start, grabbed the early advantage, racing out to a 10-4 lead after a thunderous two-handed dunk by Carte’Are Gordon with just over 16 minutes left and GSU continued its offensive output, extending the lead to 17-6 as Terrence Lewis outraced the Buffs defense for the layup with 13:57 remaining.

The Tigers, who shot 51.5 percent in the first half, opened the game shooting 43.8 percent and out-rebounded their Pac-12 opponent 11-5, including six off the offensive glass, through he first eight-plus minutes in building a 20-9 advantage.

Colorado, which shot 37 percent from the floor in the opening half, closed the gap to 24-16 after a pair of free throws by Javon Ruffin, but Grambling State used a 13-2 run over the next 3:30 minutes, capped by a Cameron Christonjumper, giving the Tigers a 37-18 advantage with 6:13 left in the half.

Buckets by Gordon, Cowart and Virshon Cotton gave the Tigers their largest lead of the first half, 43-24 with 2:24 left. 

However, the Buffs used a 8-0 run over the final two minutes of the half to close the deficit to 43-32, but Cowart’s buzzer-beater sent the Tigers into the break with a 46-32 advantage.

“That was an incredible momentum changer,” Jackson said about the buzzer-beater. “Colorado started pushing and taking the momentum and Shawndarius Cowart hit a big three. It kind of seized that momentum and was kind of a back breaker. It helped pushed us with the momentum going into halftime.”

Grambling State started the second half strong, getting a tip-in by Malik Lamin and a dunk by Gordon to extend the lead to 50-34.

The Buffs (1-1) forced the Tigers into foul trouble early as Grambling State picked up its sixth team found just six minutes into the second half as Colorado closed the deficit to 54-41.

Terrence Lewis and Zahad Munford drained back-to-back 3-pointers as GSU continued to play aggressive on the defensive end and shooting the ball lights out on the offensive end as the Tigers led 60-45 with 12:47 remaining.

Colorado got a free throw by J’Vonne Hadley and back-to-back layups by Jalen Gabbidon as the Buffs continued to close the gap, trailing 60-49, and forcing Grambling State to call a timeout with 11:35 left.

The Buffs cut the margin to 60-51 with just over 11 minutes to play, but the Tigers used a 9-2 run, capped by a free throw by Smith to extend the lead back to double digits, 69-53, with 7:40 remaining.

Colorado got a dunk by KJ Simpson, but Lewis drained a trey at the other end as GSU led 73-57 with just over four minutes to play.

The Buffs got aggressive on the defensive end and used a 7-0 run to cut the double-digit deficit to 73-64 with 3:20 remaining.

Colorado continued to play from behind, using a small 6-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Simpson as GSU’s lead was trimmed to 77-70 with 1:28 left.

Down the stretch, Grambling State proved to be too much as the Tigers sealed the game at the free-throw line, before picking up their second victory over a Power 5 school in the Division I era.


  • Grambling State shot 50 percent (26-of-52) from the floor and 68.6 percent (24-of-35) from the free-throw line
  • Shawndarius Cowart finished just one point shy of a career high, with 19 points, along with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals
  • Cameron Christon registered 17 points, five boards, two steals, two assists and one blocked shot
  • Terrence Lewis chipped in 15 points and two steals
  • Carte’Are Gordon added 14 points, five boards, two assists, two blocks and one steal
  • The Tigers scored 27 bench points, 24 points in the paint, 20 points off 19 Colorado turnovers and 10 second-chance points
  • Colorado went 25-of-62 from the floor (40.3 percent) and 19-of-26 (73.1 percent) from the foul line
  • KJ Simpson paced the Buffs with 16 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals
  • Nique Clifford recorded 15 points, six boards, three steals, two assists and one block
  • J’Vone Hadley tossed in 12 points, eight rebounds and one steal
  • Jalen Gibbidon registered 11 points, four steals and one block
  • The Buffs finished with 32 points in the paint, 26 bench points, 24 points off 18 Grambling State turnovers, 13 second-chance points and four fast break points


  • Grambling State hosted Colorado for the first time in school history
  • The game marked the first time the GSU men’s basketball program hosted an opponent from the Power 5 conferences
  • Grambling State and Colorado met to open play in the SWAC/Pac-12 Legacy Series
  • Tigers head coach Donte` Jackson is no stranger to major program victories… In 2017, Grambling State went on the road and beat Georgia Tech, 64-63 (Dec. 1)
  • The GSU victory on Friday marked the second victory in the Division I era that the Tigers have knocked off a Power 5 program

Grambling State takes a week off before returning to action as the Tigers visit the State of Arizona for a pair of games, starting on Friday, Nov. 18 at Grand Canyon, before visiting Arizona State on Nov. 22. Tip-off on Nov. 18 against the Lopes is set for 9 p.m. 

Next Game:
at Grand Canyon
11/18/2022 | 9 p.m.

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