MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Ivy Smith Jr. scored 17 points and Grambling beat Alabama State 66-64 on Saturday in a regular season finale.
Grambling (17-14, 13-5 Southwestern Athletic Conference) clinches its first conference title since the 1988-89 season. The Tigers are ineligible for postseason play, however, due to the program’s failure to meet the NCAA’s required Academic Progress Rate (APR) benchmark.
Shirmane Thomas added 14 points and Devante Jackson 13. Both also grabbed six rebounds.
The Tigers trailed by 11 midway through the first half but battled back late and Thomas scored six points in the final four minutes to tie it up at 38 by halftime.
Jackson scored nine points as part of a 13-6 run to open the second half that gave Grambling a 51-44 lead with 12:51 to play. Alabama State cut it to 55-54 with 7:30 remaining on a Reginald Gee 3-pointer but could not get closer and Gee and Terrance LeFlore both missed 3-pointers in the final four seconds.
Gee scored 16 points for the Hornets (8-22, 8-10). LeFlore had 12 points and Rodney Simeon added 11.