BATON ROUGE, La. -- Jared Sam scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Southern picked up its first conference win, beating Grambling 80-69 on Saturday.
Southern scored first and led all the way, building to a 39-21 advantage at intermission. But Grambling battled back in the second half, closing to 61-51 on a Drake Wilks 3-pointer with nine minutes left and to 74-69 on a pair of 3s by Shirmane Thomas with 59 seconds to go.
Sam and Umude combined for 6 of 6 free throws in the final seconds to secure the win for Southern.
Wilks led the Tigers (4-12, 0-3) with 18 points and five rebounds. Thomas finished with 15 points and Ivy Smith Jr. had 12.
James is the highest-ranked prospect to commit to the Vols under Rick Barnes and the highest overall since Tobias Harris in 2010.
Five-star point guard Josiah James, ranked No. 20 in the ESPN 100, has committed to Tennessee over Clemson, Duke and Michigan State.
Jim Calhoun, who has a career record of 873-380 and led UConn to three national titles before retiring in 2012, has been hired as coach at Saint Joseph.