Grambling State and Colorado move on to Indianapolis

Pictured is Grambling State against Southern University and A&M College. Photo courtesy of Grambling State University Athletics.

Kyle Pehlman | Contributing Writer

DAYTON, Ohio – Grambling State took down Montana State on Wednesday night, 88-81, in an overtime game which saw the Bobcat’s 14-point lead slip away in the second half.

The Tigers will now make the short trip to Indianapolis to face the top seeded Purdue Boilermakers in the first round of the Midwest Region on Friday where they will look to carry this momentum into another win or go home situation.

Jourdan Smith led the way for Grambling State with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots while Montana State’s Robert Ford III finished with a game high 26 points in 34 minutes.

The Tigers pulled themselves back into the game with an 11-0 run in a span of four minutes in the second half, which put them within one of the Bobcats, 50-49. Mikale Stevenson executed two and-one opportunities and they also capitalized off of five Montana State turnovers during that time frame.

With 37 seconds left to play, Jimel Cofer tied the game at 72 with a clutch layup for Grambling State which would send this battle of two No. 16 seeds into overtime.

In the extra period, the game was tied at 78 with 2:02 to play, but another key 8-0 run by Grambling State shut the door on Montana State’s tournament stay.

This was the first overtime game in the history of the First Four (since its beginning in 2011).

“Incredible, that’s what March is made of baby. You gotta find a way to fight, stay in the game, and have that one last run,” Grambling State coach Donte’ Jackson said when asked about what it was like to be part of an NCAA Tournament game like this one.

Purdue now looms ahead for the Tigers who will have to deal with the tall task of Zach Edey, the reigning Naismith Player of the Year and the nation’s scoring leader this season at 24.7 points.

“Ay listen we gotta get to the rim, pack up, figure it out, start on film, and just worry about how we can throw the whole house, the kitchen, whatever, the backyard, we just gotta figure it out. Coach Painter is one of the best coaches in the country, I have a lot of respect for him, so ay, they ain’t expect us to win this one,” Jackson said when asked about Purdue and the challenge ahead.

The final game of the First Four on Wednesday featured two No. 10 seeds, Colorado and Boise State, which ended 60-53 in favor of the Buffaloes. They will move on to face No. 7 seed Florida on Friday in Indianapolis. 

Tristan da Silva finished with 20 points to lead Colorado to its first NCAA Tournament victory in three years.

Next up:

Grambling State and Purdue are scheduled for a 7:25 p.m. EST tip on Friday.

Colorado and Florida are scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. EST tip on Friday.

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