Josie Howell, Sports Editor
The Jacksonville State University men’s basketball team set the tone for their upcoming season by bringing in their first win this past Tuesday, October 29, against the Montevallo Falcons with a final score of 73-68.
This game caused a roller coaster of emotions with many ups and downs for both the Gamecocks and Falcons throughout the entirety of the game.
Turnovers in this matchup almost cost the Gamecocks the win, with the Falcons scoring well over 20 points just off of turnovers alone. Jax State also saw many missed shots throughout the game, making 27 out of 56 attempted shots in the field and four out of 10 attempted shots from the three-point line.
The first half of the game was a constant back and forth, with both teams having a hard time keeping the lead. With eight minutes left, the Falcons found themselves up 18-17, and were able to keep that lead for the majority of the half with the exception of the Gamecocks tying the game twice and having a one point lead at the four-minute mark.
In the second half, missed shots would continue to haunt the Gamecocks, but the Falcons’ fouls proved costly and brought home the win for Jacksonville State.
The last three minutes of the game had the crowd on the edge of their seats with the score at 67-68. At this point, JSU’s Mark Welsch stole the ball and made a fast break down the court to put the ball in the net bringing the score 69-68 with the Gamecocks in the lead and two minutes left in the game. Four back to back foul shots in the last couple of minutes in the game eventually sealed the win for Jacksonville State with the final score of 73-68.
Despite the many mental mistakes made on the court, there were many players that still showed out in this game that contributed to Tuesday night’s win, including some new players added to the 2019-2020 roster.
Senior forward Jacara Cross was one of five Gamecocks to score in double-figures with a team high of 13 points while also contributing nine rebounds. Sophomore forward Maros Zeliznak also contributed seven points with four of those points in the field and three from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Guards Marek Welsch and Elias Harden both contributed six points in just the first minute of the game.
“We got to find a way to execute better – It started right out of the gate in the first play we didn’t know what we were doing, second play we didn’t know what we were doing and the first out-of-bounds play, we didn’t know what we were doing,” said Ray Harper, the JSU men’s basketball head coach. “Some of the things we were doing you can’t win and beat good teams, but good thing it’s October 29th and not February 29th. So, we’ll continue to get it corrected and try to keep getting better.”
The Gamecocks will be traveling to Dallas on Tuesday, Nov. 5, to play the Southern Methodist University Mustangs. Tip off will begin at 7 p.m. Fans can keep up with the action by watching the game on ESPN 3 or by listening to the game on the Gamecock Radio Network.