JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville State basketball team will host first-place Murray State on Saturday in a 4:30 p.m. matchup at Pete Mathews Coliseum.
The Ohio Valley Conference's best team rides a 14-game winning streak into Pete Mathews Coliseum for the Gamecocks' final conference home game, one that has a great deal of significance for both parties. The Gamecocks are fighting to keep pace in the middle of the OVC standings, while the Racers have a chance to clinch at least a share of their 21st OVC regular season title.
JSU sits in a tie with Eastern Illinois for fifth in the league standings, just one game ahead of Tennessee Tech in seventh, while Murray State holds a three-game lead over Morehead State at the top of the league race. The Racers have not lost during the new calendar year, with their last defeat coming on Dec. 22 at Western Kentucky. They won the first meeting this season between the two teams on Jan. 14, 92-68 in Murray, Ky.
The Racers remain the lone team in the OVC that JSU has yet to defeat, claiming all 12 of the previous meetings in the series. They are 5-0 all-time in Jacksonville.
The Gamecocks are coming off of an 80-68 win over UT Martin on Thursday that saw junior Nick Murphy score 18 points and grab 13 boards for his sixth double-double of the year. Junior Trenton Marshall, the OVC's leading scorer at 18.3 points per game, led all scorers with 20 points.
Murphy, a native of Bronx, N.Y., needs just 27 points to become the school's 20th member of the 1,000-points club. He also sits in position to become the school's third 500-rebound player in its Division I history. Senior Amadou Mbodji is paced to become the second, needing just two more boards to hit the 500 mark.
The Racers, who lead the OVC in scoring and in defense, are led in scoring by B.J. Jenkins' 10.8 points per game, while they have five other players scoring at least 9.9 points per outing.