The Buccaneers (11-6, 4-0 Southern Conference) had a nine-point lead midway in the second half. Samford (10-8, 1-4) used a 14-4 surge to take a 70-69 lead with 4:49 left. Banks made a free throw to tie it, and then forced a turnover.
Ge'Lawn Guyn made a pair of free throws, T.J. Cromer and Desonta Bradford scored layups and East Tennessee led 76-72. Banks added another free throw, and then grabbed the rebound off Jamal Shabazz's missed free-throw attempt with a minute left.
Wyatt Walker made a layup to pull Samford to 77-76. Guyn answered with a layup, and Cromer had a defensive rebound and made two free throws to seal it.
Cromer scored 19 points and Guyn had 17. Banks finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and two steals.