Daniel Mayes, Sports Editor
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks returned to their winning ways Saturday night with a 78-60 takedown of Southeast Missouri State at Pete Mathews Coliseum.
The bounce-back win came after a disappointing loss Thursday night in which the Gamecocks (16-7, 7-3 OVC) overcame a 10-point halftime deficit only to fall late against UT Martin.
In Saturday’s affair, the Gamecocks played like a team that was unwilling to lose two in a row.
After back-and-forth play to tipoff the contest, an Ashton Spears 3-pointer at the 11:33 mark of the first half gave JSU an 18-16 lead, and the Gamecocks never looked back.
Jax State built the lead to a 12-point margin at the break.
Early in the second half, an 8-0 Gamecock run, which included two buckets from Marlon Hunter, ended thoughts of a SEMO comeback relatively quickly.
Hunter set a new career high with 22 points in the game, which bested his previous total of 21 from the Jan. 11 victory over Murray State. 14 of Hunter’s total came in the second half, helping to keep the Redhawks at arms length and secure the 78-60 victory for Jacksonville State.
Christian Cunningham also chipped in a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds, his team-leading sixth game in double figures in both statistical categories this season.
Malcolm Drumwright and Jason Burnell contributed 11 points apiece, while Jamall Gregory scored 12 and dished out six assists.
Drumwright’s scoring output snaps a bit of a hot scoring streak, as the senior point guard had put up 20 or more points in four of the previous five contests.
Jacksonville State will now embark on a two-game road trip to face two teams near the bottom of the OVC Standings.
The Gamecocks will take on Eastern Illinois Thursday, Feb. 1 before travelling to Edwardsville, Illinois to take on SIUE on Saturday. Both teams currently have a 3-7 record in OVC contests.
Jax State will return to Pete Mathews Coliseum on Thursday, Feb. 8 to take on Tennessee Tech.