JSU men bow out in the OVC basketball tournament

From Jacksonville State University

NASHVILLE – The Jacksonville State men's basketball team's late season run came to an end in Thursday's Quarterfinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, where Morehead State battled to a 68-54 win in Nashville's Municipal Auditorium.

The No. 7 seed Gamecocks (15-18) struggled from the floor for much of the night but hung in there with the third-seeded Eagles (18-14) until a late run did JSU in. The loss ends a late season run that saw JSU win nine of 12 games, including a first-round win over preseason favorite Austin Peay on Wednesday.

Three Gamecocks scored in double figures, including junior Mason Leggett, who put in 11 points in 21 minutes off of the bench. The Zachary, La., native scored eight of his points in the first half, keeping JSU in the game despite struggling through the first 20 minutes. JSU went just 6-for-20 from the floor and 0-for-10 from behind the arc but fought to keep it just a two-point game.

Juniors Ronnie Boggs and Tarvin Gaines each scored 12 points to round out the JSU trio in double figures. Gaines and Leggett led JSU with six rebounds apiece.

The loss puts the finishing touches on a season that saw JSU finish .500 in OVC play for just the second time in its nine years in the league and saw the Gamecocks win just their second OVC Tournament game. They have no seniors on their roster and tied for sixth place despite being picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll.

MSU got 18 points from Angelo Warner and 14 more from Milton Chavis.

The Gamecocks held it together in the first half, despite falling behind 8-1 out of the gates and going the final 6:32 of the half without a field goal. Nick Cook and Boggs each sat much of the half with two fouls, but MSU coach Donnie Tyndall rolled the dice and threw leading scorer Drew Kelly out there with a pair of fouls and watched him draw his third.

The Gamecocks held MSU without a field goal for more than six minutes in the middle of the half to use a 10-3 run that got them back in the game. The two exchanged leads for the rest of the way before MSU crawled into the locker room with a 24-22 halftime lead.

JSU opened the second half with a 3-pointer from Gaines, the Gamecocks' first trey of the game, to claim a one-point lead. The two exchanged leads eight times in the second half before an 8-0 MSU run allowed the Eagles to build their largest lead of the night at 53-43 with just over five minutes to play.

JSU just couldn't get the shots to fall down the stretch, and the Eagles held on to advance to Friday's semifinal against No. 2 seed Tennessee State.