GRAMBLING -- In a matchup of teams riding multiple game win streaks, Southern University men's basketball built a nine-point second-half lead but faltered late in a 69-68 to Grambling State Saturday night in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.
Despite leading for over 28 minutes, Southern found themselves trailing the Tigers 61-60 with 2:02 when officials assessed a technical foul to the Jaguars bench, who were questioning a called foul on Emanuel Shepherd's block attempt on Devante Jackson.
The Tigers lead ballooned to 65-60 after Jackson and Ivy Smith, Jr. added a pair of free throws each.
Senior forward Jared Sam, who finished with a game-high 23 points, rallied the Jaguars scoring six of the team's final eight points punctuated by a putback basket off of Eddie Reese's missed layup with five seconds left.
Sam missed the free-throw which would have converted the old fashioned 3-point play and tied the game at 69. After retaining possession, Southern's final attempt to steal the win went awry when Jamar Sandifer hurled a rushed three-pointer from the top of the key.
Sam went 7 of 10 from the field and 9 of 11 from the charity stripe. Aaron Ray provided the Jaguars with a spark off the bench with 14 points and four boards. Emanuel Sheperd led SU with eight rebounds
Smith, Jr. led GSU with 20 points and finished 12 for 15 from the free throw line. Jackson added 15 points and six rebounds while Nigel Ribeiro tallied 10 as a reserve.
Southern will make its second nationally televised appearance on ESPNU Monday night when they face Jackson State University at the Lee E. Williams Assembly Center in Jackson, Miss.
Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m.