Gamecocks welcome OVC-favorite Belmont with milestones on the line

The JSU Men's Basketball team defeats UNA at home by a score of 64-50. Jason Burnell.
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Jason Burnell leads the Gamecocks in what has already been a succesful season. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Daniel Mayes, Editor-in-Chief

Ahead of the second matchup in just two weeks with preseason Ohio Valley Conference favorite Belmont, the Jacksonville State Men’s Basketball program enters the meat of their conference schedule with a heap of accomplishments already behind them.

The Gamecocks took down the Bruins 84-74 in their first matchup on the road in Belmont’s Curb Events Center, and, just two weeks later, JSU welcomes the OVC-Power into Pete Mathews Coliseum Thursday night with several program milestones on the line:

Undefeated in OVC Play

The Gamecocks enter the game already riding their best start to their conference schedule since joining the league in 2003-04. Jacksonville State has claimed a victory in their first four OVC games, which is their best start in any conference since starting 6-0 in the Atlantic Sun in 1999-00. With a win, the Gamecocks would extend their program-best start and keep at least a share of first place in the Ohio Valley, as Murray State and Austin Peay also go into their respective games Thursday night with an unblemished conference record.

Division I Best Win Stretch

After falling to 0-3 to begin the season, the Gamecocks have rattled off 12 wins in their last 14 games, good enough for the best 14-game stretch in JSU’s Division I history, which dates back to 1995. The lone two losses came in close road games against March Madness regulars, as JSU fell 69-65 to Wichita State on December 12 and 74-72 to West Virginia on December 22. The Gamecocks have rattled off five wins in a row since the defeat at the hands of the Mountaineers, and another victory would give the Gamecocks their longest win streak since 2008-09.

Win Streak over Belmont

The Gamecocks have won four straight games over the class of the OVC in Belmont, dating back to the 69-65 JSU victory in the semifinals of the 2017 OVC tournament as the Gamecocks made their run into March Madness. Jacksonville State swept the season series last year, and has a chance to accomplish that feat again this season with a victory on Thursday night after their road victory on January 3. That win was just the third home OVC defeat for Belmont since joining the league in 2012, with Jacksonville State accounting for two of those three. The Bruins are 50-3 in conference home games during that span.

Jacksonville State tip against Belmont is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Thursday night at Pete Mathews Coliseum after the two Women’s programs matchup at 5:15. The game can be viewed online by subscribers of ESPN +, and Mike Parris will have the call on 91.9 WLJS and 97.9 WVOK.

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