Jacksonville State (15-8) at Morehead State (11-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 14, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ellis Johnson Arena (6,500) -- Morehead, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: JSU 8-3, Morehead State 8-4. Away Record: JSU 5-5, Morehead State 3-10. Neutral Record: JSU 2-0, Morehead State 0-0. Conference Record: JSU 7-5, Morehead State 5-6. Series Record: Morehead State leads, 16-8.
GAMES NOTES: For the second time in less than two weeks the Morehead State Eagles and the Jacksonville State Gamecocks will collide in Ohio Valley Conference action, this time at Ellis Johnson Arena.
After earning a three-game winning streak with its 70-59 victory over Morehead State on Feb. 2, the Gamecocks fell in a 78-64 loss to Tennessee Tech this past Saturday. The Gamecocks dropped to 15-8 overall with the loss and to 7-5 in OVC play which has it fifth, and just a spot ahead of the Eagles in the league standings. Jacksonville State is in the midst of a three-game road trip that ends on Saturday against Eastern Kentucky.
Morehead State is coming off a 68-47 loss to those same Colonels this past Saturday. The setback was the third straight and fourth in the last five games for the Eagles who have fallen to 11-14 overall and 5-6 against conference competition. The Eagles are 8-4 at Johnson Arena where they will be for the third contest of this four-game homestand on Saturday against Tennessee Tech.
In the first meeting between these teams Jacksonville State shot 66 percent from the field to earn the win. The victory was the second in the last three meetings for the Gamecocks who still trail the all-time series, 16-8.
After fighting to a 25-24 deficit at halftime against Tennessee Tech, the Gamecocks were outgunned in the second half. Although Jacksonville State shot 50 percent in the period their inability to stop the Golden Eagles from getting to the free-throw line proved detrimental as Tennessee Tech got 27 points from the charity stripe in the final 20 minutes.
In the loss, Tarvin Gaines (15.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Brian Williams (12.9 ppg, 4.2 apg) continued to be the most productive offensive weapons for the Gamecocks especially since Darion Rackley (14.0 ppg) was lost to a thumb injury in mid-January. Williams had a game-high 22 points in the contest on an even 50 percent shooting both overall (8-of-16) and from beyond the arc (5- of-10). Gaines, the team's leading scorer, put up 15 points but was unable to get any more as he fouled out. Ronnie Boggs (11.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg) is also averaging in double figures but no other player on the roster scores more than 5.5 points per game. Boggs is also the top rebounder for a team that ranks second to last in the OVC on the glass (28.9 ppg) and among the 10 worst teams nationally.
Morehead State had fewer than 10 field goals in both halves against Eastern Kentucky and shot just 32.6 percent from the field overall. The Eagles turned the ball over 17 times leading to a massive 24-4 deficit in points off turnovers. Morehead State was also outscored 38-10 in the paint and 17-7 in second-chance points.
On the season Morehead State has fought to about even on the scoreboard by scoring 70.1 points per game, while giving up an even 70. The Eagles can lay claim to being one of the better rebounding teams in the conference as they rank second in the OVC on the boards (36.8 pg). The scoring load is more spread out for the Eagles with seven different players scoring at least 6.8 points per game but none more than Milton Chavis (10.7 ppg). Angelo Warner (10.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg) is the only other double-figure scorer on the team, while Chad Posthumus (6.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg) leads on the boards. Devon Atkinson (7.0 ppg, 5.1 apg) isn't much of a scorer but he has managed to rank second in the OVC in assists.
Hot shooting keyed Jacksonville State's win the first time these teams met. If the Gamecocks struggle to find a rhythm on the road the Eagles' advantage on the glass could help them reverse their fortunes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Morehead State 71, Jacksonville State 67
02/14 10:31:20 ET