GRAMBLING, La. -- Ivy Smith Jr. scored 17 points and Grambling State held off Jackson State 71-64 on Saturday night for its 11th straight Southwestern Athletic Conference victory.
Drake Wilks hit three 3-pointers and scored 11, Axel Mpoyo also scored 11 and Shirmane Thomas added 10 points and eight rebounds for Grambling (15-12, 11-3). Grambling, picked to finish seventh in the conference in a preseason coaches' poll, is in first place by one game with four to play.
Smith had nine points as Grambling grabbed a 38-28 halftime lead. Jordan Berry nailed a 3-pointer to pull Jackson State within 56-55 with 8:23 to play, but Mpoyo answered with a dunk, Thomas sank two free throws and Bobby Jackson turned a turnover into a layup to push Grambling's lead back to 62-55.
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.