Jacksonville State (10-18) at Southeast Missouri State (13-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Show Me Center (6,972) -- Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Television: None. Home Record: JSU 7-5, SEMO 6-4. Away Record: JSU 2-12, SEMO 4-9. Neutral Record: JSU 1-1, SEMO 3-0. Conference Record: JSU 4-9, SEMO 4-8. Series Record: Jacksonville State leads, 13-4.
GAME NOTES: The Jacksonville State Gamecocks will venture out for their final road trip of the season, and they kick things off with an Ohio Valley Conference bout against Southeast Missouri State at the Show Me Center.
Jacksonville State isn't carrying a lot of momentum into this two-game road swing, with losses in five straight games. The Gamecocks have grown accustomed to falling short, however, with a success rate of just 10-18 overall, including a 4-9 mark against the rest of the OVC. They visit Tennessee Tech next, before playing their season finale against Belmont.
Southeast Missouri State has been only marginally better overall (13-13), and the Redhawks have lost three of their last four bouts and only have a half- game lead on the Gamecocks in the conference standings (4-8). They will play their final road game of the season this Saturday against Tennessee-Martin.
This is the first time these teams have met since Jacksonville State pulled out a 67-65 victory last February. The Gamecocks have won three of the last four matchups and lead the all-time series, 13-4.
Despite playing at home, Jacksonville State was unceremoniously dispatched by Eastern Kentucky in an 86-65 final the last time out. The Gamecocks allowed the Colonels to sink 64.6 percent of their shots from the floor, while ending up on the short end of a 33-15 scoring margin from 3-point range.
It did not help that Brian Williams (11.3 ppg), who is one of only two double- digit scorers on the roster, was absent from the Eastern Kentucky game. Williams is suffering from a sprained right ankle, which still has him listed as questionable. That puts a lot of pressure on Darion Rackley (12.9 ppg), who already struggles to score with any degree of efficiency. He is connecting on just under 40 percent of his shots from the floor after finishing with 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting against EKU. With so few offensive options, the Gamecocks are last in the OVC in scoring (65.5 ppg).
SEMO also lost at home when it was last in action, dropping a 79-70 decision to UT-Martin. The Redhawks shot 43.5 percent from the floor compared to the Skyhawks' 41.9 percent, but they were outscored from 3-point range (24-15) and at the free-throw line (19-11).
The Redhawks were also hurt by injury in the contest, with Jarekious Bradley playing only five minutes due to a sprained left knee. Bradley (19.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg), who is second in the OVC in scoring, is listed as doubtful for this matchup. Hope is not lost, however, as Tyler Stone (19 ppg, 9.2 rpg) is still healthy. Stone did all he could against UTM, tallying 21 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks over 39 minutes. He is among the top five players in the league in scoring, rebounds and blocks. Lucas Nutt (8 rpg, 5.8 apg) doesn't score very often, but he is a solid passer from the point.
Losing Bradley is a major setback for SEMO, which is so heavily reliant on he and Stone. If the rest of the roster can fill in the gap, the Redhawks still have a solid chance at winning against a Jacksonville State squad that is also missing an important contributor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SE Missouri State 74, Jacksonville State 67
02/20 10:34:54 ET