GRAMBLING, La.- The Prairie View A&M men’s basketball team defeated Grambling State in a 64-57 Southwestern Athletic Conference win Saturday evening behind a double-double from senior Gerard Andrus.
Down 8-2 to open the game, the Panthers stormed back with a dominant 19-2 run led by Andrus, who scored eight of his team-high 20 points during the surge, which gave the Panthers a 21-10 lead midway through the first half.
“He’s a Louisiana guy, and he wanted to come back home, represent and do some positive things,” Smith said of Andrus, “I thought he stepped up and did an outstanding job, and I’m really proud of his effort.”
Following a three-pointer from senior Antione Lister with 5:30 left before the break, the Panthers led by as many as 12, but with Travon Bunch sparking the Tigers off the bench, GSU managed to pull within five as the half came to a close.
From there, the Panthers were in a nip-and-tuck battle for much of the second half, as the Tigers pulled within a basket and ultimately took a 38-36 lead via a Trevell Cunningham lay-up with 17:11 left.
“This was a very important win for us, because it was the next game. Win or lose, the next game is the most important game. Obviously, with a formidable opponent in Grambling State — they don’t lose a lot at home,” PVAMU Head Coach Byron Smith said of the win. “It’s huge for our program.”
Andrus, however, refused to let the game slip away from the Panthers, as he scored on consecutive possessions to push PVAMU ahead 40-38 with just over 15 minutes remaining.
The Tigers regained the lead, but a lay-up from Leon Sneed and a pair of free throws from Andrus tied the game at 44 with 12:44 to go.
The Panthers managed a 5-0 run to gain some distance, but GSU shortened the lead within 50-48 until senior Chancellor Ellis caught fire from three-point land, knocking down a pair of treys during a 9-4 run that put PVAMU ahead 59-52 with 1:59 left.
Grambling State pulled within three, but clutch free throw shooting late in the fourth ensured the road win.
“I had to tell them a lot of positive reinforcement. Just be smart, don’t gamble and keep your composure,” Smith said. “We were in front of a raucous crowd, they get into the game a lot. I wanted to make sure we were able to keep our composure and make the game-clinching plays without potentially drawing a technical foul.”
Ellis scored 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc for the Panthers (7-10, 3-1 SWAC), and senior Darius Williams added 10 points.
Bunch led GSU (9-9, 3-2 SWAC) with 14 points and nine rebounds (eight offensive).
The Panthers shot 22-of-57 (38.6 percent) from the floor, compared to a 22-of-60 (36.7 percent) line for Grambling State.
The Panthers’ bench outscored the Tigers’ reserves 29-20.
The Panthers take on Jackson State Monday at Lee E. Williams Athletic Assembly Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.