In last year's SWAC Championship game, Shareif Adamu helped Alabama State defeat Justin Patton and Grambling State, 65-48. (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press)

The Alabama State Hornets will begin their 2011-2012 SWAC conference play the same way they ended it, playing their SWAC rival Grambling State.

Conference play begins on Jan. 3 in the SWAC and the winless Tigers of Grambling State will have an opportunity to capture their first win Tuesday night at home against the Alabama State Hornets.

The game that will be played in the Fred C. Hobdy Arena is a rematch of last year’s SWAC finals, where the Hornets defeated Grambling 65-48 and ended their memorable run to the big dance.

The Tigers finished last season winning their last five of six games. This year has not started off well, as the Tigers have lost their first 10 games. During the 10 game slip the Tigers have lost by an average of 34.4 points and are only shooting 28 percent from the field, both of which are the lowest in the league. Grambling’s defense is allowing the opposition to shoot 45 percent and score 77.4 points.

ASU is averaging 54.6 points per game, but in their recent victory over Reinhardt on Thursday, ASU snapped a three game losing streak scoring 78 points. Kenderek Washington totaled 21 points off the bench.

Alabama State’s roster has seen many changes since last year’s SWAC Finals. While ASU returns two starters and nine players including Washington, the SWAC’s second leading scorer with 15 points per game, the Tigers only returned four players with 10 new additions, a few which are injured.

One key addition to the Tigers roster is former Big East rising star Quincy Roberts. Roberts impressed in his debut for the Grambling State Tigers, as he finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds against the TSU Horned Frogs and 19 points in his second game against LSU.

With Roberts and a roster at full strength, Tiger head Coach Bobby Washington feels optimistic about his team during conference play.

“Quincy means a lot to our team,” said Washington. “He could put on an LSU jersey and do a great job. For us to be able to get a caliber of player like that and him being a team player is great. We have several seniors out with injuries it has been tough for us to score the basketball. We have been looking for other players to score for us. Once we get a couple of those guys back and starting conference play we should be built well to contend in our conference.”

The Grambling State Tigers will host the Alabama State Hornets Tuesday night. Tip-off begins at 7:30 P.M.