Tag: Tyler Phelion

‘Cocoa’ leads JSU past Eagles in OVC Tourney


Daniel Mayes, Sports Editor

The drought is over.

The Jacksonville State women’s basketball team defeated Morehead State 69-56 to win their first Ohio Valley Conference Tournament game since 2014.

The last victory came four seasons ago when the Gamecocks took down Tennessee Tech to reach the semifinals. JSU missed the tournament in 2016 and 2017.

“I’m really happy for these kids and I’m really happy they got to experience a tournament victory,” Head Coach Rick Pietri said after the game. “It’s big for our program moving forward.”

The Gamecocks came out strong from the start, scoring the first eight points of the contest, including five from Tyler Phelion.

“Cocoa” was the star of the game for JSU, as the senior forward scored early and often, totaling 24 points for the game. That mark was one point shy of Phelion’s career-high of 25, giving Phelion the second-highest scoring game in OVC Tournament history. Freddricka Embry put up 25 in a 2004 loss to Eastern Kentucky.

“Cocoa was outstanding today,” said coach Pietri. “She’s saving her best for last. She’s been really good the last couple of weeks.”

Morehead state responded after the early Gamecock lead, trimming the margin to just one at 25-24 with 4:34 remaining in the first half.

Jacksonville State refused to let the Eagles take the lead, however.

Jayla Walker and Taylor Hawks hit three-pointers on back to back possesions, and then Phelion netted another two, pushing the Gamecock lead back to nine.

After Jacksonville State went into the locker room with a 35-29 lead, the two teams traded baskets in a back-and-forth third quarter.

The Eagles managed to cut the Gamecock lead to three, but JSU closed strong, and a Kiana Johnson and-one layup pushed the margin back to 10 at 49-39 just before the quarter break.

JSU used a 20-15 fourth quarter to seize control down the stretch. Chloe Long bucketed six of her 12 points in the final frame to keep the Eagles at arms length.

Long’s 12 equals a season-high for the sophomore, as she scored a dozen in the Gamecocks’ very first game this year.

The Gamecocks move on to face top-seeded Belmont in the semifinals. The Bruins finished the regular season 18-0 in the conference and took down Jacksonville State 66-35 on Feb. 21.

Jacksonville State will look to pull the upset in a 1:00 p.m. tipoff Friday.

JSU defeats Tech to finish season

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Tyler ‘Cocoa’ Phelion tallied 20 points and eight rebounds in the Gamecock win over TTU. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Logan Arnwine, Staff Sports Reporter

The chase for the NCAA Tournament has officially begun for the Jacksonville State Gamecocks.

Jacksonville State University (18-11, 12-6 OVC) defeated Tennessee Tech 73-59 Saturday, Feb. 24 in their last game of the regular season, earning the fourth seed in the OVC tournament.

JSU finished the first half off a three by the freshman guard, Taylor Hawks to seal a 14-point lead, 39-25 going into the third quarter. This would be Taylor Hawks’ thirteenth point in the first half alone when on average she scores 8.6 points throughout an entire game.

Tennessee Tech struggled to keep the ball in their own hands, allowing themselves to turn the ball over 11 times in the first half, compared to Jacksonville State’s five.

With 6:18 left in the final quarter, the Golden Eagles cut the lead to seven from a layup by Kentoria Alexander.

As soon as Tennessee Tech seemed to get into a rhythm and ride momentum for a comeback, the Gamecock defense stepped up. For the next 3:15 the Golden Eagles did not score another point thanks to the swarming Gamecock defense protecting the paint and forcing two turnovers.

In that time frame, the Gamecocks built back up a 13-point lead and did not slow down from there. In the final three minutes of their final game of the regular season, Jacksonville State scored on 10 out of 12 free throws to solidify a victory in the opponent’s arena.

The Gamecocks won with balanced scoring by having seven players with at least five points.

Tyler Phelion finished as the team’s leading scorer with a season-high 20 points while also putting up eight boards and two blocks.

Taylor Hawks scored 15 points along with an impactful three steals in 30 minutes of playing time.

The greatest difference between the two teams came in the form of points off turnovers, where the Gamecocks scored 28 points off 21 turnovers, while Tennessee Tech scored just nine points off only 11 turnovers.

The Jacksonville State bench also outscored the Golden Eagles by a total of 14 points, 25-11.

Jacksonville State finishes the season as the fourth-ranked team in the Ohio Valley Conference with a conference record of 12-6, a school record for conference victories since moving to Division I.

In the upcoming OVC tournament, Jacksonville State will play fifth-seeded Morehead State (21-10, 12-6 OVC).

JSU defeated Morehead State in each of their matchups in the season, 70-64 and 65-67, respectively. In both competitions, JSU’s bench outscored Morehead State’s bench by a large margin. Morehead State is coming off a victory against Eastern Kentucky 62-51.

This matchup in the OVC championship tournament will be played Thursday, March 1 at 1:00 p.m. in Evansville, Indiana. It can be watched on ESPN3 or the OVC Digital Network.

The winner will move on to face go the winner of the game between first-seeded Belmont (18-0 OVC) and eighth-ranked Murray State (7-11 OVC).

JSU Women falls in overtime on Senior Day

Despite a second chance to win the game in overtime, the Gamecocks could not keep up with the offense of Tennessee State and fell 74-66.

It was a rough overtime period as the Gamecocks struggled to get anything together offensively. They went 1-of-9 in shooting despite perfection from free throw shots.

Candace Morton led the night in total points with 20, while Courtney Strain was right behind her with 10. Morton also led in free throws making 8-of-10. The Gamecocks were overall 13-of-19 for free throws on the night.

The game opened with TSU jumping out to a fast lead before a tie at 15:41 that put the score at an even four. It was then the Gamecocks’ chance to lead the game, which they did manage to even the score two more times.

A 3-pointer by TSU’s Jemilah Leonard at 6:56 put the Eagles in the lead with the score at 15-13. The lead that they gained by that shot was one that they would hold onto for the duration of the first half. They led by as many as eight twice in the final five minutes.

It was on a three-pointer by Strain with 3:01 left when the Gamecocks cut the Eagles’ lead to five and seemed to gain momentum. The Gamecocks fought hard and broke the Eagles down to only a two-point margin by the end of the half with the score sitting at 25-23 after Miranda Cantrell hit a layup with nine seconds left.

As the second half opened, it didn’t take long for the Gamecocks to tie the score at 25. It was the first of six ties in the second half. Before the second tie, the score bounced back and forth between the two teams always within one. The second tie brought the score to 28 before TSU went up by two. A layup by Cantrell brought the teams to their third tie at 30.

Less than a minute later it was tie number four at 32. This time Tennessee State would manage to pull away from their opponent and keep the score just out of their grasp for around three minutes. It was Tyler Phelion who helped the Gamecocks to their fifth tie at 41 with 11:17 left in the game.

It was JSU’s turn to pull away from TSU. The Gamecocks took their lead out all the way to the 2:02 mark when the Eagles hit a jumper to put them up by one. They couldn’t hold their lead and JSU would send it to overtime with a three-pointer at the buzzer by Morton.

Unfortunately the Gamecocks fell apart in overtime. After TSU went ahead, the Gamecocks were able to tie it once more before the Eagles took full control and never let it go. They would go on to win the game by eight.

The Gamecocks have one regular season game left after their win Monday against Eastern Kentucky. They will play Morehead State Feb. 28.

Rebekah Hawkins
Staff Writer

Women hoops win on Valentine’s Day

It was a sweet Valentine’s Day for the JSU women who stepped up and defeated Tennessee Tech 67-58 in front of the home crowd at Pete Mathews.

The Gamecocks were on fire with their free throws in the second half as they made 11-of-12. Candace Morton had four more in the second and Tyler Phelion had five. On the night, the team was 17-of-19 from the free throw line. Morton led the night in total points with 18 while Gretchen Morrison had 12 and Phelion had 11.

While JSU had more points in the first half with 34 to TTU’s 24, the Golden Eagles came back to give JSU a scare as they scored 34 to JSU’s 33 in the second half. It was not enough to contain the Gamecocks who left the first half in the lead and would not release it for the remainder of the game.

The first half opened with the first points belonging to Tennessee Tech. They would lead for around three minutes until JSU tied the game and stole the lead with a shot from Morton.

The score would be tied three more times during the first half and the lead changed from JSU to TTU and back again before the third tie settled it. JSU took the lead out of the half’s final tie at 10:29 and carried it for the remainder of the first.

When Tennessee Tech came within one, it took a three-pointer from Briana Benson to bump the lead back up to four. The Gamecocks led by as many as 12 with 15 seconds remaining before the Golden Eagles hit two free throws on a Benson foul to cut the lead to ten. The Gamecocks entered the half ahead of TTU 34-24.

The first half was productive on free throws for the Gamecocks as they hit 6-of-7 with four coming from veteran guard Morton.

The second half saw JSU in the lead early on. Despite TTU’s best efforts, the closest they got to the Gamecocks was four points. JSU had their highest lead of the second half with 11 at the 6:32 mark after a made three-pointer by Gretchen Morrison set their lead at 50-39.

The Gamecocks would keep their lead within seven until 2:42 when two free throws dropped their lead to six at 55-49. With the game coming to an end, TTU attempted to claw their way back to the lead, but never made it past the six points that they were down by. The Gamecocks made eight free throws in the final minute to seal their 67-58 victory and earn their hard fought 17th win.

The JSU women’s regular season draws to a close as they reach their final games of the season. They will play Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 18, weather permitting, in Richmond. Their final home game will be on Feb. 21 against Tennessee State.

Rebekah Hawkins
Staff Writer

Women’s Basketball bounce back from losses with 72-64 win over Morehead State

JSU Sportswire
JSU Sportswire

The Jacksonville State Women’s Basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak with their 72-64 win over Morehead State Saturday afternoon at Pete Mathews Coliseum.

The win also broke an eight game losing skid to the Lady Eagles. Jacksonville State improved their record to 13-7 overall, 4-4 in conference play. The Lady Eagles fell to 8-12 overall, 4-3 in the OVC.

The Lady Eagles started the day off with a 5-0 run before Briana Benson hit a three to put Jacksonville State on the board at the 18:36 mark of the first half.

Both teams swapped baskets before the Lady Gamecocks took the lead. They would never trail the rest of the way. Jacksonville State ended the half on a 4-0 run where they went into the locker room with a 36-25 advantage.

The Lady Gamecocks opened the second half with a basket by Tyler Phelion to increase their lead to 38-25. From that point on, both teams shared baskets. Jacksonville State experienced their largest lead of the afternoon with 16:54 left in the game after Benson knocked down a three-pointer to push the lead to 16 points, 47-31.

Jacksonville State finished shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Benson led all scorers with 17 points. Destany McLin had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

The Lady Gamecocks will try to increase their winning streak to two games when they host Eastern Kentucky Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

Chris Hubbard
Staff Writer