PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas -- Ivy Smith Jr. scored the final seven points and Grambling held off Prairie View A&M, 90-85 on Saturday night to win their ninth straight game and move into a first-place tie in the Southwestern Conference.
The Tigers opened SWAC play with three straight losses, but have since strung together nine consecutive wins. After Arkansas-Pine Bluff's loss to Southern Saturday, 70-62, the teams now are tied atop the conference with 9-3 records.
Gary Blackston hit a 3 to get Prairie View within one, 79-78 with 3:27 left, but Shirmane Thomas answered with a jumper and hit a pair of free throws and Smith added another to defuse the threat. Troy Thompson hit a 3 and Blackston made two free throws to get the Panthers within a point, 84-83, but Smith answered with a jumper and four straight free throws to put the game out of reach.
The rebuilding Wildcats are set to raise the 2018 national championship banner next week -- and also lower expectations for the season to come after multiple NBA departures.
Top stories from around the world in our round up
Michigan coach John Beilein can't yell or throw a chest pass yet after his offseason heart surgery, but the coach says he is ready for the upcoming season -- and fully expects to be recovered by that time.