MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Jared Sam scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Southern held off Alabama State 70-67 on Saturday night.
Sam was just 4 of 13 from the field but made 10 of 14 free throws for the Jaguars (13-14, 9-5 Southwestern Athletic Conference), who have won four straight. Jamar Sandifer and Eddie Reese added 12 points apiece and Chris Thomas also had 12 points along with nine rebounds.
Southern led by one at the break but Alabama State's Reginald Gee sank two 3-pointers and a layup as part of a 13-5 run early in the second half that gave the Hornets (6-19, 6-7) a 39-34 lead with 14:15 to play. The Jaguars went ahead 62-61 on an Aaron Ray 3-pointer with 2:31 remaining and held on for the win.
Gee led Alabama State with 21 points and seven rebounds. Jacoby Ross added 12 points and seven assists.
Watts is one of the most dynamic scoring guards in the country and looks to develop his game under coach Tom Izzo's tutelage.
Rocket Watts, the No. 27 overall prospect in the 2019 class, has committed to Michigan State.
UNC Wilmington will open its preseason basketball practices at North Carolina due to lingering effects of Hurricane Florence.