Fast start helps Texas Southern beat Grambling St. 79-72

HOUSTON (AP) David Blanks scored 20, while Jose Rodriguez hit 4 of 7 from 3-point range and finished with 16 points to help Texas Southern beat Grambling State 79-72 Monday night.

Chris Thomas and Malcolm Riley added 13 points apiece and Derrick Griffin scored 12 with 10 rebounds for Texas Southern.

Texas Southern (12-12, 11-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) shot 60 percent from the field, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range, in the first half and took a 46-16 lead into the break – its highest-scoring first half this season.

Grambling State scored 13 of the first 15 second-half points and a 3 pointer by Michael Bethea Jr. trimmed its deficit to 63-56 with 5:20 left, but it would get no closer.

Ervin Mitchell led Grambling State with 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Mark Gray scored 13 and Bethea added 11, including three 3-pointers.

Grambling State (6-19, 3-10) has lost eight in a row and 10 of its last 11.