Jamerious Borden, Correspondent
The Jacksonville State men’s basketball team took care of business on the road against UT Martin on Thursday night at the Elam Center 82-70, while extending their winning streak to five games over the Skyrockets.
Seniors Brandon Huffman and Darian Adams scored 16 points each with a combined total of 32 to help the Gamecocks (11-7, 7-5 OVC) overcome a UTM team who shot 50% from 3-point range in the 70th meeting between the two programs.
“Forcing these turnovers were big in us winning tonight,” said head coach Ray Harper. “Huffman caused them a lot of problems. Any time we gave Huff the ball, something good happened and he is only going to get better.”
Adams courageously helped the Gamecocks surge to a 46-34 lead at the half when he came alive for seven points in the last three minutes of the first. The senior knocked down a 3-pointer to put Jax State up by a half-best 12 points, 42-30, and made sure the period ended with a twelve-point advantage by hitting the final basket before both teams headed back to their locker rooms.
Huffman was Jacksonville State’s scoring and rebounding leader following the opening 20 minutes, scoring 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting and four free throws, while crashing the glass for five boards.
Even though they found themselves down by 15 points with only a few minutes into the second, the Skyhawks (5-11, 3-9 OVC) battled back to pull within a six point deficit. Forward Jaron Williams paced UT Martin with 21 points accompanied by a team-best, 5-for-7 clip from beyond the arc. Williams’ 10 points in the second period whittled the Gamecock advantage to 65-59 with 8:21 to play.
However, the Skyhawks’ hopes were threatened when Gamecock junior point guard Jalen Finch, drained a huge 3-pointer to extend Jax State’s lead back to double digits and put a halt to UTM’s momentum. Adams finished off the Skyhawks with a booming two-handed dunk following a steal and feed from Finch.
The Gamecocks return home tonight to host Eastern Illinois. Tip-off at Pete Mathews Coliseum is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ and broadcast on WLJS 91.9 FM, JSU’s student-run radio station.
As announced late this week, JSU’s second contest against SIUE — originally scheduled for Monday, Feb. 15 — has been postponed. A make up date has not been announced.