JSU wins big in most crucial game of the season

Photo courtesy of JSU Athletics

Justin Travis, Correspondent

In an absolutely critical game for Jacksonville State in the race for the number one seed in the ASUN conference, the Gamecocks dominated the Bellarmine University Knights with a score of 82-67. In a game for the top spot in the conference as well as a better chance at a conference title, the Gamecocks exceeded expectations and exploded from the three point line on the road.

Jacksonville State came out the gates early playing great, tenacious defense and nailing multiple three point shots to take a 15-5 lead through the first five minutes of action. The gameplan for JSU was clear at the start, move the ball quickly to get open looks from behind the arc and knock them down. They were doing just that, with five early threes and an emphatic dunk by Juwan Perdue which forced a Knights timeout with the score of 22-8. A Demaree King three gave the Gamecocks an 18 point lead after the first 15 minutes of action. 

The first half ended on two possessions that defined the game early on, great ball movement by JSU which led to another three point make, and a great defensive effort to force a bad shot. The Gamecocks had nearly four in double digits at the half, and were led by Jalen Gibbs with 13 points and two big threes. As a team Jacksonville State shot an astonishing 50% from the arc with nine made threes, and racked up seven forced turnovers on defense.

The second half started just like how the first half ended, suffocating defense which led to a nice block, and another three point make off an assist to jump out to a 21 point lead. The Gamecocks were able to maintain a nearly 20 point lead through the first ten minutes of action in the second half. Bellarmine was not just going to roll over however, over the next few minutes the Knights continued to play hard and hit big shots showing why they’ve won three straight heading into this game.

As the game clock continued to wind down, Jacksonville State was able to remain consistently good on both offense and defense, a Kayne Henry dunk with a minute left took out whatever air was left in the Bellarmine crowd. The JSU backcourt of  Jalen Gibbs and Darian Adams led the way  combining for 43 points and an insane ten made threes between the two. Jalen Finch added in 17 points and six assists as well. 

Jacksonville State (18-9) will return back home to play Eastern Kentucky University (12-16) this Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

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