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Jacksonville State (15-7) at Tennessee Tech (8-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Eblen Center (9,200) -- Cookeville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: JSU 8-3, TTU 5-4. Away Record: JSU 5-4, TTU 3-10. Neutral Record: JSU 2-0, TTU 0-0. Conference Record: JSU 7-4, TTU 2-8. Series Record: Tennessee Tech leads, 11-10.
GAME NOTES: The Jacksonville State Gamecocks are set to visit the Eblen Center for a rematch with the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles in an Ohio Valley Conference affair.
This will be the 22nd meeting in the all-time series. JSU completed an 83-62 rout of TTU on Dec. 29 in the inaugural meeting of this season, but the Golden Eagles still hold on to a narrow, 11-10 all-time series lead.
The Gamecocks are coming off a 70-59 win over Morehead State that improved them to a 15-7 overall record including their 7-4 mark in OVC action. The victory was the third in a row for JSU, as it took down Austin Peay and Murray State before downing the Eagles. The Gamecocks will now return to the road where they are 5-4 on the season. With Darion Rackley still out of action due to injury, Tarvin Gaines is the go-to-guy for JSU as he enters with averages of 15.0 points and 5.1 boards per game.
Gaines stepped up his play to pour in a game-high 23 points to lead JSU to its 11-point win over Morehead State. He had some help though, as Ronnie Boggs scored 19 points and Brian Williams had 18 points and six assists. The Gamecocks came out of the gate on fire, hitting 73.9 percent of their shots from the floor to take a 40-26 lead at halftime. In the second half, JSU shot at a 55.6 percent clip, including a 5-of-7 effort from beyond the arc, to coast to the victory. Morehead State made 45.8 percent of its field goal tries in the contest but was outscored 18-3 from beyond the arc by the red-hot Gamecocks. The strong offensive showing by JSU was not the norm, as it is ninth in the OVC in scoring with an average of 65.3 ppg. It is the defensive effort that limits the opposition to a conference-low 61.9 ppg that has been fueling the fire consistently.
The Golden Eagles return home in search of answers after being defeated by Belmont by a 74-52, the team's fifth loss in six games. TTU has the worst OVC record in the East Division with just two wins in 10 games. The poor performance by the team this season can not be pinned on Jud Dillard, who has been the heart and soul of the team while producing 19.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per tilt.
In the loss to the Bruins, Dennis Ogbe led the Golden Eagles with 19 points while Dillard registered a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Lanerryl Johnson chipped in 11 points off the bench as the team was held to 38.3 percent shooting from the field. The Bruins converted 48 percent of their shots from the floor and outscored TTU, 25-3, in points off turnovers to coast to the victory. The Golden Eagles' lack of triumphant results this season is not shocking considering they are 10th in the OVC in scoring offense (63.2) and just two slots higher in scoring defense (67.1).
The Gamecocks are playing their best basketball of the season despite being without their second leading scorer. Gaines has taken initiate to put the team on his back as it attempts to climb as high as possible in the league standings. Dillard is an all-conference caliber player for TTU, but the Golden Eagles are too much of a one-man show at this point.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Jacksonville State 66, Tennessee Tech 59
02/09 10:37:48 ET
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