Life on the road has punished Southern.
The Jaguars were 1-12 away from Baton Rouge before Saturday, so it’s safe to say a road win at Grambling, the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s hottest club with six straight wins, would've been a strong statement.
It wasn't to be.
Grambling fell behind early Saturday but erupted in the second half and ended Southern’s four-game winning streak, holding off the Jaguars 69-68 on Saturday at the Fredrick C. Hodby Assembly Center.
The Tigers haven’t lost since Jan. 6, when Southern dealt them a 80-69 defeat.
“Grambling’s the hottest team in the league right now,” Southern coach Morris Scott said before the game.
“They haven’t lost since we beat them, so I’m sure they’ll be locked in and ready for us to walk through the doors … I’m sure they think they owe us.”
Grambling was indeed ready.
Six of Southern’s last seven games have ended in overtime or no more than a four-point difference. Saturday was no different — and just as stressful.
Southern (9-14, 5-5 SWAC), which led 27-22 at halftime, allowed Grambling (11-12, 7-3) to score 47 points in the second half. The Jaguars, who led by as many as nine points, trailed by two with 36 seconds remaining.
Jared Sam did his part, too. Southern’s star senior forward posted 21 points, his eighth 20-point outing of the season.
Aaron Ray added 14 points off the bench. No other Jaguars scored more than seven points.
As a team, Southern shot 40 percent from the floor. Grambling's offensive night was not spectacular, either: The Tigers were 22 of 56.