Jacksonville State Tops Cougars

Michael Messer

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Jacksonville State went on a 21-2 second-half scoring run to erase a nine-point SIUE lead Thursday en route to a 75-62 victory in Ohio Valley Conference men's basketball at Vadalabene Center.

SIUE fell to 4-9 overall and 0-3 in the OVC. Jacksonville State improved to 11-5 and 3-2.

"They (Jacksonville State) turned their pressure up and we melted," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "They were very good as far as pressuring us, and our guys got rattled."

Jacksonville State forced SIUE into 12 second-half turnovers and scored 18 points off those turnovers. The Gamecocks scored 23 points off 16 SIUE turnovers for the game.

"They got back into the game by forcing turnovers and getting easy buckets at the other end," Forrester added.

SIUE had its largest lead of the night at nine when Kris Davis hit a three-pointer with 17:29 to play in the game.  A Jerome Jones layup was the only Cougar basket over the next six-plus minutes of play. Tarvin Gaines made it 52-42 Jacksonville State with a layup with 10:57 left.

The Gamecocks led by as many as 15 points after a Brian Williams layup made it 53-66 with 4:01 left.

The Cougars had a 32-29 lead at half thanks to easy baskets and second chance points. The Cougars scored 10 second-chance points in the first half as a result of six offensive rebounds. The Gamecocks did not score a second-chance point in the first half. SIUE also held a 16-8 advantage on points in the paint in the first half.

SIUE trailed 29-25 with 2:10 left in the first half before finishing the half on its own 7-0 run. The Cougars extended the run to 12-0 to lead 37-29 with 18:14 to play in the game.

"In the three conference games that we've played I think we've done some nice things," Forrester said. "Our guys just have to be tougher and find ways to take care of the basketball.

"We were shooting a pretty good percentage," Forrester added. "It's tough to score when you're turning the ball over."

Jerome Jones and Michael Messer were the only Cougars in double figures. Jones finished with 15 points, including 10 in the second half. Messer finished one rebound shy of his first career double-double scoring 14 points and adding nine rebounds. Kris Davis and Mark Yelovich each scored eight points for SIUE. Davis added six assists.

Williams paced five Jacksonville State players in double figures with 19 points. Ronnie Boggs scored 16 points off the bench. Gaines added 14 points. Nick Cook scored 12 points and led the Gamecocks with seven rebounds. Darion Rackley scored 11 points.

The Cougars play host to Tennessee Tech Saturday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.