Southern battles Grambling State basketball in the second annual NBA HBCU Classic on Saturday, Feb. 18 during NBA All-Star weekend 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The two Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) programs will meet at the University of Utah's Jon M. Huntsman Center. The 4 p.m. ET game will air on TNT and ESPN2.
The game is a part of the NBA's ongoing commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The 2023 HBCU Classic is a part of the NBA's effort to increase support and awareness for HBCU athletics and institutions.
MORE: Find out more on the NBA's initiatives with HBCUs
Here's how to watch, players to watch, a tale of the tape, and more for the 2023 HBCU Classic.
How to watch
Here's how to watch Southern play Grambling State in the 2023 HBCU Classic.
- Time: 4 p.m. ET
- Date: Saturday, Feb. 18
- TV channel: Simulcast: TNT, ESPN2, NBA TV
- Streaming: Click or tap here to watch on TNT streaming
- Location: Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
Click or tap here for live stats.
Who are some players to watch?
- G Brion Whitley
- G Bryson Etienne
- G P.J. Byrd
Brion Whitley scored a career-high 32 points on 11-21 shooting from the field and 5-11 shooting from three in Southern's win over Grambling State earlier this year. He's a prolific shooter from deep, making 7-12 threes in a 27-point scoring effort against Alcorn State. Whitley is shooting 35 percent from deep with 2.5 made threes per game en route to 13.9 points per game against SWAC opponents. P.J. Byrd's 6.1 assists in SWAC play leads the conference and he almost notched a double-double with 18 points and 8 assists against Grambling State this year. Elsewhere, Bryson Etienne is Southern's second-leading scorer at 11.0 points per game after transferring over from Texas Southern.
NBA legend and Southern alumni Bob Love will represent the Jaguars as the honorary captain of the 2023 NBA HBCU Classic.
- F Carte'are Gordon
- G Cameron Christon
- G Shawndarius Cowart
In Grambling State's last outing against Southern, Carte'are Gordon did not play. It was a big loss for the Tigers, missing Gordon who averaged 13 points in Grambling's two upsets over Colorado and Vanderbilt. Meanwhile, Cameron Christon dropped 25 points on 11-20 shooting from the field against Southern earlier this year. He averages 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds against SWAC opponents. Christon is excellent at getting to the free throw line, shooting double-digit attempts in 13 of 23 games. Shawndarius Cowart also had a big game against Southern with his 12 point, 10 assist and 14 rebound-triple double. He's capable getting of a triple double in any game.
NBA legend and Grambling State alumni Willis Reed will represent the Tigers as the honorary captain of the 2023 NBA HBCU Classic.
🗓 Every HBCU men's basketball game against a 2022 NCAA tournament team
How Southern and Grambling State stack up
Southern and Grambling are two of the biggest rivals in HBCU sports, meeting annually in football for the Bayou Classic. Now, the Jaguars and Tigers meet on the hardwood for the HBCU Classic.
Game notes (as of 2/11/23)
- In the season's earlier Southern-Grambling State matchup, Southern won 81-73.
- Southern scored 29 fast break points in the win.
- Southern has the top scoring offense in SWAC play at 75.4 ppg.
- Southern is the best shooting team in SWAC, with the most made threes in the conference.
- 5 Jaguar rotation players shoot 34 percent from three or better.
- Grambling has the third best scoring defense in SWAC play at 65.5 ppg allowed.
- Grambling leads SWAC in blocks at 4.55 bpg in SWAC play.
- Grambling has two Power Five wins this year over Colorado and Vanderbilt
Here's how the two rivals stack up statistically entering the 2023 HBCU Classic.
|Southern||2022-23 STATS (as of 2/12/23)||Grambling STATE|
|13-12 (9-3)||Record (Conf)||12-20 (9-9)|
|74.4||Points per game||65.1|
|72.7||Points allowed per game||70.8|
|31.9||Rebounds per game||35.7|
|35.4||Rebounds allowed per game||38.7|
|15.2||Assists per game||10.8|
|14.8||Turnovers per game||14.3|
|18.4||Points off turnovers||13.7|
|8.6||Steals per game||6.6|
|2.6||Blocks per game||3.4|
|44.3%||Team field goal percentage||40.6%|
|35.6%||Team three-point percentage||31.7%|
|G Brion Whitley
|Leading scorer||G Cameron Christon
|F Terrell Williams Jr.
|Leading rebounder||F AJ Taylor
|G P.J. Byrd
|Leading passer||G Tra'Michael Moton
|G P.J. Byrd
|Leading three-point shooter||G Cameron Christon
It can be football, basketball, baseball, hell it can be water polo... #Southern and #Grambling will be intense & petty. pic.twitter.com/ahgTS3L25o— Kevin Batiste (@KBatisteJr) January 15, 2023
💥: The top challengers to every defending DI HBCU men's basketball conference champion
HBCU Classic history
Howard defeated Morgan State in the inaugural HBCU Classic during the 2021-22 season. See the results below:
Elijah Hawkins drops 17 and 5 assists in the inaugural NBA HBCU Classic as Howard gets the win over Morgan State 🔥 #NBAHBCUClassic @eslimee_ pic.twitter.com/i1WE9Sm1wJ— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) February 19, 2022
HBCU MARCH MADNESS: Texas Southern can make HBCU basketball history with 1 March win
SWAC conference standings
The Tigers sit second while the Jaguars sit third in the SWAC conference standings as of Feb. 12. Take a look at the complete standings below.
|Standing||School||Conf Record||OVR Record|
|9||Prairie View A&M||5-7||9-16|
|12||Mississippi Valley State||2-10||3-23|
LEGACY CLASSIC: Recapping Michael B. Jordan's Legacy Classic in HBCU basketball
When Southern faces Grambling State in the 2023 HBCU Classic, it will mark the second meeting between the schools this year. Southern ended a five-game losing streak in the last outing, but Grambling State has won 10 of the last 13 games in the series since 2018.
Southern leads the series 46-28 since 1986 and 16-13 since 2010. Here are all the meetings since 2010 season:
|1/14/2023||Baton Rouge, LA||Southern||L 73 - 81|
|3/10/2022||Birmingham, AL||Grambling State||W 60 - 58|
|2/19/2022||Baton Rouge, LA||Grambling State||W 61 - 57|
|1/15/2022||Grambling, LA||Grambling State||W 83 - 77|
|3/11/2021||Birmingham, AL||Grambling State||W 72 - 67|
|2/6/2021||Baton Rouge, LA||Grambling State||W 72 - 69|
|1/9/2021||Grambling, LA||Southern||L 55 - 61|
|2/8/2020||Grambling, LA||Grambling State||W 66 - 62|
|1/11/2020||Baton Rouge, LA||Grambling State||W 61 - 56|
|2/9/2019||Baton Rouge, LA||Grambling State||W 59 - 40|
|1/12/2019||Grambling, LA||Grambling State||W 69 - 63|
|2/3/2018||Grambling, LA||Grambling State||W 69 - 68|
|1/6/2018||Baton Rouge, LA||Southern||L 69 - 80|
|2/4/2017||Baton Rouge, LA||Southern||L 66 - 67|
|1/7/2017||Grambling, LA||Southern||L 79 - 87|
|2/6/2016||Grambling, LA||Southern||L 66 - 79|
|1/9/2016||Baton Rouge, LA||Southern||L 61 - 66|
|2/7/2015||Baton Rouge, LA||Southern||L 50 - 58|
|1/10/2015||Grambling, LA||Southern||L 53 - 59|
|2/8/2014||Grambling, LA||Southern||L 54 - 104|
|1/11/2014||Baton Rouge, LA||Southern||L 49 - 73|
|2/2/2013||Baton Rouge, LA||Southern||L 31 - 59|
|1/6/2013||Grambling, LA||Southern||L 43 - 82|
|2/4/2012||Grambling, LA||Southern||L 53 - 57|
|1/7/2012||Baton Rouge, LA||Southern||L 59 - 72|
|2/5/2011||Baton Rouge, LA||Grambling State||W 49 - 45|
|1/8/2011||Grambling, LA||Grambling State||W 61 - 57|
|2/6/2010||Grambling, LA||Grambling State||W 65 - 59|
|1/9/2010||Baton Rouge, LA||Southern||L 67 - 73|