Daniel Mayes, Staff Reporter
The Jacksonville State men’s basketball team earned their first Ohio Valley Conference Tournament win since 2012 after a 74-51 victory over Southeast Missouri State on Thursday in Nashville.
The fourth seeded Gamecocks used a season-high 12 made 3-pointers to pull away from fifth seeded SEMO in the second half and secure a spot in the OVC semifinals for the first time since 2006.
Erik Durham led JSU with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Norbertas Giga also tallied a double-double with 11 points and 12 boards, and Christian Cunningham chipped in with six points, all coming off of dunks, and five blocks.
Andre Statam, who is from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the town that also houses the campus of Southeast Missouri State, swished all three of his three pointers and had nine points against his hometown team.
Jacksonville State started the game off slowly on offense, hitting on just 4-11 field goals inside the arc in the first half, but Durham stepped up his game while his teammates struggled.
Also a native of Missouri, Durham had a field day against the team from his home state.
Durham scored 13 of his points and went 3-3 from 3-point range in the first half and was the only Gamecock with more than five points at the break.
In the second half, the rest of the Gamecocks caught fire as well.
Jacksonville State hit on 17 of their 29 second half shots, good for 58.6%, and tallied 11 assists to just a single turnover in the second frame to pull away from the Redhawks.
SEMO fought hard to keep the game within striking distance for much of the second half, but the JSU offensive onslaught proved too much for the Redhawks in the end, and the Gamecocks won by a final score of 74-51.
Jacksonville State moves on to face No. 1 seed and OVC regular season champion Belmont in the semifinals on Friday.
The game will tip at 6:30 p.m. inside Nashville Municipal Auditorium and will be televised on ESPNU.