Tyrik Armstrong and Justin Hopkins combined for 42 points as Texas Southern shook off Grambling State in the closing minutes for a 93-79 win Monday night inside H&PE Arena.
The first half featured a balanced scoring attack by Texas Southern as seven players scored at least two points. The contest remained close for the most part as every time TSU would attempt to pull away, Grambling State would answer as the most TSU would lead was by five points on two occasions.
In the final 1:15, both teams began to display their three-point shooting prowess as GSU’s Devante Jackson hit a trey followed by TSU’s John Jones. Jackson responded with another trey on the next possession to pull within 33-32 but Armstrong was fouled and hit two free throws for a 35-32 TSU lead with 45 seconds remaining. Ivy Smith pulled Grambling State to within 35-34 with 24 seconds but Armstrong nailed a buzzer beating three-pointer for a 38-34 TSU halftime lead.
TSU would never trail in the second half but Grambling State was a constant thorn in its side most of the half. Ahead 45-43, the Tigers outscored Grambling State 13-6 over the next five minutes for a 58-47 advantage with 12:21 remaining as GSU shot only 20 percent (2-for-10) during that span while TSU shot 57 percent with four free throws made.
The lead would grow to 12 (64-52) at the 9:34 mark after Hopkins’ jumper but Grambling State went on a 9-4 run as Ivy Smith, Jr. scored five points to key the run as Grambling State trailed 66-61. Hopkins would respond with a much-needed three-pointer on the next possession for a 69-61 lead but Grambling State hung around as TSU’s margin was 71-65 with 5:44 left following a GSU three-pointer. Grambling State would close to within six once again a minute later but TSU would shift into another gear offensively over the final 4:34.
The Tigers would close out the game shooting 57 percent (8-of-14) and 3-for-4 from the three-point line as they outscored GSU 22-17. The lead would grow to as much as 16 in the final 1:11 as TSU swept the season series over Grambling State.
Hopkins and Armstrong both had 21 points while Yahuza Rasas posted his second straight double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
TSU is back in action at Mississippi Valley State on Saturday, Feb. 22. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.