With a 12-point loss to Alcorn State Saturday, Grambling State finished the regular season with a winless 0-27 record, including 0-18 in the SWAC.
This comes two seasons after playing in the conference tournament’s title game, now a program that has gone through four coaches in five years and is sitting at the bottom of nearly every statistical category in the country. The Tigers are last (347th) in points per game, 313th in rebounding, 314th in assists, and 346th in field goal percentage.
Grambling’s closest loss was a 10-point defeat at the hands of Prairie View A&M on Feb. 9. The Tigers never lost a game by less than double digits, lost by 40 points four times, and lost once by 50 to Auburn.
But there is still a chance, if you can believe it, to go dancing.
Grambling still qualifies for the SWAC tournament and will take on Alabama A&M on March 13 in its first game on a quest for an automatic bid. But bad news is that the Tigers just lost to A&M, 74-47, on Thursday, a game in which they shot 33 percent from the floor. They also lost to A&M by 25 points on Jan. 2.
This is a team and a program in transition. Last season, Towson finished 1-31, but has stormed back this season to win 18 games and tie for second place in the CAA this season. The turnaround at Grambling likely won’t be that quick, but it also is not impossible with time.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)