EDINBURG, Texas – Terry Winn III hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds remaining to put the Vaqueros up by one and Grambling State's Ivy Smith Jr.'s layup as time expired rimmed out as UTRGV defeated the Tigers 74-73 in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament Wednesday night.
The win was UTRGV's first-ever NCAA Division I postseason victory and came in front of a crowd of 2,071. UTRGV (20-16) now hosts Texas Southern on Monday.
The game was tied at six early when UTRGV used a 13-2 to take a 19-8 lead. After a timeout, Grambling answered with a 13-4 run to cut the Vaquero lead to two, 23-21, midway through the half. Both teams traded baskets for the rest of the half and UTRGV went into the locker room up 42-41.
In the second half, Jordan Jackson hit a three to start the half and give UTRGV a four-point lead but Grambling used a 6-0 run to go up 47-45. After the eighth tie of the game at 62, Grambling went on an 8-1 run.
UTRGV trailed by seven, 70-63, with just under five minutes left in the game when Tyson Smith hit a three-pointer and made two free throws and Winn III made a layup on three straight possessions while the defense got stops to tie the game at 70.
After a Tiger three-pointer, Winn III made another layup and grabbed the rebound on the Grambling miss on the next trip down the court to set up the game-winning free throws.
Smith led a group of five UTRGV players in double-digit scoring with 19 points to go along with seven assists. Lesley Varner II and Javon Levi added 14 each and Winn III and Jackson finished with 10 apiece. Winn III and Varner II grabbed six rebounds each, while Levi also dished out seven assists and nabbed three steals on the night.
UTRGV shot 46 percent from the floor, 41 percent from three-point range and 69 percent from the free throw line on the game. Grambling connected on a 56 percent clip from the field, 58 percent from downtown and 80 percent from the charity stripe. The Tigers out-rebounds the Vaqueros 32-28, but committed 15 turnovers on the game compared to UTRGV's eight.