Thomas Ashworth, Correspondent
On Tuesday night, the Jacksonville State men’s basketball team fell to Eastern Kentucky, 86-82, in an overtime loss.
This game was originally planned for Saturday, Jan 30, but was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. This also marks the second game that the Gamecocks have played in ten days.
It was a rocky start for the Gamecocks, with EKU eclipsing 20 points with 12:52 left in the first half, nine coming from EKU’s Cooper Robb. However, a dunk by JSU’s Kanye Henry ignited the Gamecocks, scoring 12 straight points.
The Gamecocks were able to significantly trim that deficit, trailing 40-36 at the half.
Despite a strong effort by the Gamecocks, who outscored EKU 37-33 in the second half, a three-pointer by EKU’s Wendell Green Jr. took the game into overtime, 73-73. An overtime push by EKU overwhelmed the Gamecocks, ultimately defeating JSU 86-82. This continued EKU’s win streak, which now stands at 9 straight wins.
This game featured multiple shifts of momentum passed between both teams. JSU had a 71-63 lead, its largest of the game, after Brandon Huffman’s jumper with 5:13 left in regulation time. At that point, JSU had outscored EKU 67-43 since the Colonels’ 20-4 start. With another shift of momentum, EKU outscored JSU 23-11 in the game’s final 10:13.
“We’ve just got to be tougher,” said head coach Ray Harper. “We’ve got to play harder and be tougher.”
Kayne Henry scored a season-high 22 points for the Gamecocks, while also posting six rebounds. Jalen Finch added 19 points and seven rebounds and Brandon Huffman scored 12 with six rebounds.
“If we competed, had effort, played tough, and just executed we probably wouldn’t have dug ourselves into that big of hole,” said Jalen Finch after the loss.
For EKU, two players reached 20 points. Wendell Green Jr., who also scored the points that sent the game into overtime, led the team in points with 22, and also posted a team-leading eight assists and seven rebounds. Cooper Robb posted 20 points, three rebounds and three assists.
With the loss, the Gamecocks fall to 10-7 and 6-5 in conference play. JSU will travel to Martin, Tennessee to play UT Martin tonight at 8 p.m. in Martin, Tenn. The game will be broadcast live on WLJS 91.9 FM, the student-run radio station of JSU, and streamed on ESPN+.