Coley Birchfield, Correspondent
The Jacksonville State men’s basketball team ended the Thanksgiving Break with a 3-1 record, including a 3-game win streak.
JSU returns to campus this week after competing in the Goldie and Herman Ungar Memorial Tournament in Mobile, Ala. Here, the Gamecocks captured wins over Florida Atlantic, South Alabama and the University of Mobile.
The Gamecocks’ lone loss came to the hands of the Alabama Crimson Tide on Thanksgiving Eve. The game, which aired on the SEC Network, showcased a team filled with newcomers.
JSU tied a program record set in the 2011-12 season with a total of 11 new players this winter.
Darian Adams and Demaree King have been the most impactful of the group so far. The duo have combined to average 25 points per game. With most of King’s points stemming from hitting 60 percent of his 3-point shots.
The Gamecocks combined to score 69 points per game, while also turning the ball over an average of 15 times per game.
Head coach Ray Harper looks to return the Gamecocks to their former success after finishing the 2019-20 season with a 13-19 record. The OVC conference members seemed to believe that possibility by picking JSU to finish third in their preseason rankings. That would be a substantial improvement from the seventh place finish of last season.
COVID-19 protocols have made games evidently different, so far this season. Every team’s bench is required to be spaced out along the baseline to improve social distancing. This requirement goes along with frequent COVID-19 testing and mask requirements while not on the court.
Another impact that could be financially dangerous is the limited crowds during competition. During the Gamecocks first four games — including a visit to SEC power, Alabama — the average attendance was only 800. Students and fans should expect these same crowd limitations during games at Pete Mathews Coliseum.
The men’s team will get a break from action before travelling to Miami this weekend, where they will play Florida International on Friday and Sunday.