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Grambling State Makes History With First NCAA Win

Photo Credit: Grambling State University

In an extraordinary display of determination, the Grambling State University Tigers etched their name into NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament history. Facing off against Montana State in the First Four of the 2024 tournament, the Tigers mounted an incredible comeback from a 14-point deficit, culminating in an 88-81 overtime victory. This win wasn’t just another notch on the belt; it was Grambling State’s inaugural voyage into the NCAA tournament, a testament to a season of hard-fought battles and unwavering spirit.

The game, which unfolded in Dayton, Ohio, was a rollercoaster of emotions for both teams and their supporters. The Tigers, who entered the tournament on the back of their first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Tournament crown, showcased why they were not to be underestimated, despite being newcomers to the tournament stage. The victory was representative of their season’s journey, highlighting their resilience and capability to rise to the occasion.

Jourdan Smith (18 pts), Antwan Burnett (18 pts), and Jimel Cofer (19 pts) were the torchbearers for Grambling State. Their standout performances were pivotal in swinging the momentum in favor of the Tigers, especially during the crucial moments of overtime. On the other side, Montana State, despite a commendable effort and a notable 26-point performance from Robert Ford, found themselves unable to contain the surging Tigers when it mattered most.

This historic win is a beacon of pride not only for Grambling State University but also for the broader HBCU community, underscoring the talent and competitiveness that often goes unnoticed. Head coach Donte’ Jackson, named SWAC Coach of the Year for the third time since 2018, has been instrumental in this journey, cultivating a culture of excellence and belief among his squad.

As Grambling State advances in the tournament, they carry with them an underdog mentality that could take them a long way. Their victory against Montana State is a reminder of the unpredictability and thrill that the NCAA tournament brings to the hardwood.