MVSU (4-26, 4-13 Southwestern Athletic Conference) has won three of its last seven after starting the season with 20 straight losses. Grambling (15-14, 11-5) has lost two straight after an 11-game winning streak.
The Tigers led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but MVSU used a 26-8 run for a 45-37 lead going into the break.
MVSU led 56-40 early in the second half, but Grambling State cut it to 73-71 with 2:15 left after a bucket by Ivy Smith Jr. However, that would be as close as the Tigers would get down the stretch.
The teams combined for 101 rebounds after missing 92 of 147 field-goal attempts.
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.