By ANTHONY SHINGLER | Senior Staff Writer
Facing a two game skid in Ohio Valley Conference play, the Govs were looking to get back on the winning track. They succeeded Saturday, Jan. 22, in the Dunn Center with an 80-66 win over Jacksonville State.
The Govs improved to 13-8, 7-2 OVC. They are tied with Tennessee State for first place in the conference.
With the loss Jacksonville State (2-18, 0-9 OVC ) tied a school record of 14 straight losses.
“It was better. We got off to a better start,” said Govs head coach Dave Loos. “We did what we are built to do, which is to extend their defense, turn them over some and to shoot it well.”
Coming out of halftime, the Govs held a 37-25 lead. Jacksonville State used an 11-4 run to cut the Govs lead to 41-36 with 17:33 left in the game.
However, the Govs’ offense came alive with a 26-14 run started by two free throws made by freshman forward Will Triggs at the 11:09 mark. When the run ended with two free throws made by junior guard Josh Terry, the Govs held their largest lead, 74-55, with 3:18 remaining in the game.
Jacksonville State finished the game with an 11-6 run, but it was not enough to steal the Govs 13th victory of the season and their seventh in the conference.
Junior guard Tyshwan Edmondson led the Govs with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists. Terry added 16 points and redshirt junior center John Fraley scored 11. Triggs led the team with seven rebounds in addition to scoring nine points.
The Govs shot 60 percent (15-of-25) from the field in the first half and finished the game shooting 53 percent (26-of-49).
They outscored the Gamecocks 34 to 26 in the paint and shot an impressive 83 percent (20-of-24) from the free-throw line in the second half.
“We shot it better at the free-throw line,” Loos said. “The bad news is they shot it at 50 percent. While it was better, it was not championship caliber.”
The Govs trap defense helped them make 10 steals and the Gamecocks generate 20 turnovers. They scored 20 points from those turnovers.
This was the 16th time the two teams have played each other. The Govs now lead the series 15-1.
The Govs have 10 OVC games remaining in their regular season schedule. They will hit the road for their next two games.
First, they will stop in Richmond, Ky., to play Eastern Kentucky Thursday, Jan. 27. Then they will travel to Morehead, Ky., and play Morehead Saturday, Jan. 29. The Govs have already beaten both teams earlier this season. TAS