JSU Men Win Thriller, Women Fall In OT vs. Belmont


Women

Jacksonville State overcame a slow start offensively in the first half to take the lead several times during the second half, but ultimately was done in by missed shots during the overtime period in a 55-52 rare loss at home to Belmont.

Tyler "Cocoa" Phelion had a career performance for the Gamecocks as the freshman from Mobile finished with career-highs in points and rebounds with 14 and 13 respectively. Her half-court heave, in the closing seconds of overtime, came up short as JSU fell for the first time at home since January against Austin Peay. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak by Jax State, who moved to 16-8 overall and 7-5 in OVC play. BU improved to 10-15 on the season and 7-5 in the conference.

Phelion scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the second half and the five minute extra session.

Outside of Phelion, only Candace Morton finished in double figures. The senior from Lexington, Ky. finished with 11 points for the Gamecocks.

Three Jacksonville State players-Destany McLin, Miranda Cantrell, and Gretchen Morrison-all finished with six points in the contest.

The Gamecocks shot a season-low 23.2 percent from the field, which included 18.9 percent during the first half and 10 percent (1 of 10) during overtime. On the flip side, the JSU defense forced a season-high 28 turnovers while only giving the ball away eight times.

After only having two rebounds in the two team's last time out, Belmont's 6-foor-3 freshman center Sally McCabe had her way on the glass as she finished with a game-high 19 rebounds. She also had 12 points for the Bruins. Senior Jordyn Luffman-Hartsfield paced the way offensively for the Bruins as she had a game-high 18 points to go along with 15 rebounds.

Belmont's Katie Carroll only had seven points through regulation, but the senior did most of her damage during the extra five minutes. She drained a 3-point basket and then followed with a jumper just outside the lane to give the Bruins a quick five-point lead.

JSU will continue its home-stand Saturday as the Gamecocks welcome in Tennessee Tech as part of a doubleheader with the men's basketball team. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear pink for the 'Play4Kay' breast cancer awareness initiative that NCAA Women's Basketball is putting on throughout the month of February.

Courtesy: JSU Sports Information

Men

Jamal Hunter put the Jacksonville State men's basketball team ahead and then blocked Belmont's attempt at the buzzer to lift the Gamecocks to a 72-70 win over the Bruins on Wednesday at Pete Mathews Coliseum.

The senior went up strong and scored with 1:38 to play to give the Gamecocks (10-17, 3-9 Ohio Valley Conference) a 68-66 win and then swatted Craig Bradshaw's runner as time expired to down the Bruins (15-10, 7-5 OVC) for the first time since Belmont joined the OVC three seasons ago.

Hunter's final block was his seventh of the night, tying his own school record for blocks in a Division I game and his go-ahead basket gave him 10 points on a night that also saw him lead his team with eight rebounds. He was 5-for-7 from the floor and also had three assists.

Hunter and fellow senior D.J. Felder's production in the paint came on a night where it was much needed. Without guards JaQuail Townser and Dontay Jackson due to injury, Hunter and his partner in the post combined for 29 points. Felder's 19 set a new career high and went along with five boards, three on the offensive glass.

Senior Darion Rackley scored 16 points and grabbed four steals, while senior Avery Moore and freshman Malcolm Drumwright added eight apiece. Freshman Randall Smith scored four in 17 quality minutes off the bench, and juniorJeremy Watson had seven points and five rebounds.

Belmont got 24 points and nine rebounds from Evan Bradds, while Bradshaw added 15. Reece Chamberlain recorded a double-double of 10 points and 10 assists.

The Gamecocks used a 52 percent shooting effort in the first half to build an early lead, only to watch Belmont blister the nets to the tune of a 64 percent clip in the second half. It wouldn't be enough in a back-and-forth game that saw three ties and eight lead changes in the game's final 12:30.

The Gamecocks came to life late early in the first half, when a pair of Rackley steals keyed a 13-4 run that turned a 10-8 Belmont lead into 21-14 JSU lead. Felder got in on the hot shooting, knocking down the first two 3-pointers of his career in the half to help JSU build as much as a 15-point lead at 35-20 with just over three minutes on the clock.

The Gamecocks forced eight first-half turnovers and turned those into 11 points. They shot just under 52 percent from the floor and were 3-for-6 from behind the arc. In the first 20 minutes.

The Bruins came to life during the half and cut into JSU's lead quickly to start the second half. They scored six-straight points in the first 60 seconds of the half to make it a 37-32 Gamecock lead. They would get another basket to cut it to a three-point game before JSU's first basket of the half fell for Rackley with 17:37 on the clock.

The Gamecocks held on until the 12:32 mark, when an Evan Bradds putback gave the Bruins their first lead since 10-8 at 47-46. Jamal Hunter answered quickly with a layup that gave JSU the lead right back at 48-47.

The two exchanged leads twice before a 7-0 JSU run put the Gamecocks back up by six at 57-51 with just under nine minutes remaining.

Belmont came right back again, scoring seven in a row to reclaim a 60-59 lead with seven minutes on the clock. There were three more lead changes before Hunter's final basket that gave JSU the lead for good with 98 seconds to play.

The Bruins cut it to one on a Bradds layup with 16 seconds left and got the ball after Watson missed the back end of his two free throws.

Bradshaw got the rebound off Watson's miss and went the length of the floor before driving to attempt to tie, but Hunter's rejection found Drumwright's hands and the clock expired to let JSU pull off the win.

The Gamecocks will return home Saturday to host Tennessee Tech at 7:30 p.m. JSU students and fans ages 18 and under receive free admission to all JSU home basketball games.

Courtesy: JSU Sports Information

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