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Stan Becton | | February 14, 2023

An ultimate preview for Southern vs. Grambling State men's basketball during NBA All Star Weekend

2022 NBA All-Stars and their March Madness highlights

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.

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. 

Grambling State

  • 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
12.3 ppg
Leading scorer G Cameron Christon
13.1 ppg
F Terrell Williams Jr.
5.0 rpg
Leading rebounder F AJ Taylor
5.6 rpg
G P.J. Byrd
5.6 apg
Leading passer G Tra'Michael Moton
3.4 apg
G P.J. Byrd
43.6% shooting
Leading three-point shooter G Cameron Christon
40.2% shooting

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HBCU Classic history

Howard defeated Morgan State in the inaugural HBCU Classic during the 2021-22 season. See the results below:

12/18/2021 Howard Morgan State 68-66

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
1 Alcorn State 10-2 13-11
2 Grambling State 9-3 16-8
3 Southern 9-3 13-12
4 Jackson State 7-5 8-17
5 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 6-6 10-15
6 Alabama A&M 6-6 10-15
7 Alabama State 6-6 8-17
8 Bethune-Cookman 5-7 9-16
9 Prairie View A&M 5-7 9-16
10 Texas Southern 4-8 8-17
11 Florida A&M 3-9 5-18
12 Mississippi Valley State 2-10 3-23

LEGACY CLASSIC: Recapping Michael B. Jordan's Legacy Classic in HBCU basketball

Series history

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:

Date Location Winner Score
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

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