Tag: Greg Tucker

Jacksonville State shocks Belmont to earn spot in OVC Finals

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Malcolm Drumwright scored 21 points to lead Jacksonville State past Belmont and into the OVC Finals. (Katy Nowak/JSU)

Daniel Mayes, Staff Reporter

The 4-seed Jacksonville State Gamecocks shocked top seed Belmont 65-59 in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Semifinal on Friday night to earn a spot in the OVC Finals against Tennessee Martin.

The Gamecocks now stand just one win away from an OVC Championship that would punch their ticket to the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

“That is one heck of a basketball team we just beat… we just made plays. We wouldn’t be denied,” JSU Coach Ray Harper said after the game.

Jacksonville State’s dynamic duo at the two guard positions, Malcolm Drumwright and Greg Tucker, were the driving force behind the Gamecocks’ upset bid.

Drumwright finished the game with 21 points to lead all scorers, and Tucker added 18 and six assists and scored 11 of his points in the second half alone to carry the Gamecocks across the finish line victorious.

Gamecocks and Bruins traded baskets early on as the two squads tried to gain their footing in the game, but a 13-0 run from JSU, gave the Gamecocks a 31-20 lead with 2:32 remaining in the first.

Belmont, however, proved that a team that dominated the OVC during the regular season to the tune of a 15-1 conference record would not go away easily.

A Dylan Windler 3-pointer broke the Bruins long scoring drought, and then four points from two-time OVC Player of the Year Evan Bradds followed by a 3-point play from Taylor Barnette cut JSU’s halftime lead to just 31-30.

Drumwright was on fire in the first half for the Gamecocks, scoring 11 points on 5-5 shooting in the first frame, and Norbertas Giga added seven of his own.

Giga also played a huge role in the JSU triumph.

The junior finished 11 points and seven rebounds and also played lockdown defense on Belmont’s Bradds despite playing through most of the second half with three personal fouls.

A Belmont 3-pointer tied the game at 33-33 just over a minute into the second half, but a jumper from Giga at the 18:02 mark gave the Gamecocks a lead they would never relinquish.

Although the Bruins never overcame JSU’s lead, they were not easily dispatched.

The Gamecock lead remained a single-digit margin throughout the second half, never growing larger than nine.

Belmont cut the JSU edge to four late in the game, but Drumwright drained a dagger from downtown to make the score 62-55.

The Bruins again cut the lead down to three with just 0:45 remaining after a Bradds basket and a steal and dunk from Windler.

However, a game tying attempt from Barnette missed the mark, and, on the Bruins’ next possession, a steal from Drumwright followed by two huge free throws iced the game at 65-59.

“We left Jacksonville with one thing in mind,” Coach Harper said. “We didn’t come here to play one game; we came here on a mission.”

Jacksonville State can accomplish that mission, capturing an OVC Championship, Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Nashville, when JSU will battle 2-seed UT Martin in the OVC Tournament finals.

Check out highlights of the game and JSU’s postgame presser below:

Tucker leads Gamecocks over Tennessee State

Katy Nowak/JSU
(Katy Nowak/JSU)  Greg Tucker dribbles against Belmont on Thursday, February 9. Tucker led Jacksonville State over Tennessee State with his game-high 24 points on Saturday.

Daniel Mayes, Staff Reporter

After a tough loss against Belmont last Thursday, the Jacksonville State men’s basketball team rebounded with a 63-57 win over Tennessee State on Saturday at Pete Mathews Coliseum.

The Gamecocks overcame a 14-4 disadvantage in turnovers to take down the Tigers and earn their eighth Ohio Valley Conference win of the season.

After the two teams exchanged the lead several times early on in the game, Jacksonville State quickly built a big lead thanks to some frigid first half shooting from Tennessee State.

The Tigers hit on just 22.7% of their field goal attempts in the first frame and missed all eight of their 3-pointers.

Jacksonville State led by as many as 12 in the first, but a run by the Tigers cut the lead to 26-18 going into the halftime break.

The Gamecocks didn’t fare much better themselves from the field in the first half, with the notable exception of senior guard Greg Tucker.

JSU went 8-22 from the field in the first half overall, but Tucker was 3-5 himself, and, with 13 opening-frame points, he was the only Gamecock to score more than five in the first period.

Tucker finished with 24 points on just nine field goal attempts, going 4-8 from behind the 3-point arc and netting 10 of his 14 free throw attempts.

Saturday was the second straight game that Tucker has led the Gamecocks in scoring, as he scored 14 against Belmont on Thursday night.

Coming out of halftime, a long scoring drought from both teams was finally broken by a TSU free throw with 16:32 remaining.

Two quick Tucker 3-pointers built the JSU lead back up to 11 at 32-21 with 13:43 left.

However, a scrappy Tennessee State squad fought its way back into the game.

Over the next seven minutes of game action, the Tigers slowly cut down the lead, and, with 6:12 remaining, a step back 3-point bomb from Armani Chaney gave Tennessee State a 40-39 lead, their first since the 15:49 mark of the first half.

However, Malcolm Drumwright answered right back with a 3-pointer of his own on the next possession to reclaim the lead for JSU.

Drumwright’s 3 propelled a 15-4 Gamecock run that made the JSU advantage 54-44 with just 45 seconds remaining in the game.

Tennessee State refused to give up, and, thanks to quick fouls when the Gamecocks had the ball and 3-pointers from Delano Spencer and Jordan Reed, the Tigers scored 13 points in the last 45 seconds to put pressure on JSU.

However, Jacksonville State was able to keep TSU at bay by nailing their free throws.

The Gamecocks converted on 10 of their 11 attempts over the final 45 seconds, and freshman Tyrik Edwards swished all six of his over that time frame.

Jacksonville State ultimately held off Tennessee State by a final score of 63-57.

The win pushes the Gamecocks’ record to 16-12, including 8-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference, and clinches JSU a spot in the OVC tournament.

Jacksonville State will return to Pete Mathews Coliseum on Saturday, Feb. 18 to take on the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles.

The game will be the last home contest of the 2016-17 season and the final game in Pete Mathews Coliseum for seniors Tucker and Erik Durham.