February 3, 2012 at 10:56 AM CST - Updated June 26 at 10:39 AM
On a night where the Jacksonville State men's basketball team struggled with one of its strengths, the Gamecocks turned to one of their weaknesses to pull away in the second half and hand UT Martin a 85-74 defeat in Ohio Valley Conference play.
The Gamecocks (10-15, 5-6 OVC) entered the game with the second-best field goal percentage defense in the OVC but watched the Skyhawks (3-21, 0-11 OVC) torch the nets by shooting 62 percent from the floor. However, JSU went to the free throw line, where it was ranked 9th in the league, and made 23 of its 24 attempts to hold off a pesky UTM effort. The win was the fourth-straight in OVC play for JSU, its longest win streak since joining the league in 2003-04.
Five JSU players scored in double figures for the third-straight night, something the Gamecocks had failed to do in over a year before snapping that skid last week. Junior Ronnie Boggs led all scorers with a career-high 17 points, thanks to a 7-for-10 effort from the floor on a night that saw JSU shoot 57 percent, despite going just 2-for-9 from behind the arc.
Junior Dion Waiters also scored a career high, getting most of his output at the charity stripe. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native went 8-for-8 from the free throw line to account for more than half of his 14 points. Sophomore Brian Williams added 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Freshman Darion Rackley had JSU's lone miss at the line but made seven to put in 13 points. Junior Tarvin Gaines added 10 to round out JSU's quintet in double figures.
Freshman Grant White scored eight points less than a week after scoring in double figures for the first time in his career, while sophomore Nick Cook pitched in six despite playing just 19 minutes due to foul trouble.
The Skyhawks got 16 points from Myles Taylor but only two in the second half, while Mike Liabo and Dane Smith added 15 and 14 points, respectively.
JSU won the battle on the boards, 23-18, and were led by Boggs' five boards, four of which came on the offensive glass.