MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Jacksonville State basketball team's trip to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament ended on Tuesday night, when an overmatched Gamecocks squad fell, 87-54 at second-seeded Morehead State.
The Eagles (22-9) took over the game early and put it cruise control to roll into the semifinals of the tournament on Friday in Nashville. The seventh-seeded Gamecocks (11-19) are eliminated from the eight-team event, their first trip to the tourney since 2006. MSU claims their third-straight win over the Gamecocks and moves to within two wins from defending their 2009 OVC Tournament title.
The Gamecocks struggled out of the gates and was never able to claw back into the game. They turned it over 17 times, 14 in the first half, and mustered just a .373 shooting percentage that included a 5-for-19 first half.. Those 14 first-half turnovers led to 19 MSU points, five more than JSU could muster in the half, to roll to a 43-14 halftime advantage.
JSU got a career-high 20 points from sophomore Stephen Hall and 15 more from junior Nick Murphy in the loss that dropped the Gamecocks to 1-3 all-time in the OVC Tourney. It was the first postseason appearance for any member of the Gamecocks' roster.
OVC Preseason Player of the Year Kenneth Faried scored 24 points and pulled in 19 rebounds to lead a group of four Eagles in double figures. It marked the 22nd double-double of the season for the Newark, N.J., native. He has now scored in double figures 28 times this year and grabbed 10 or more rebounds 24 times. Steve Peterson scored 14, while Demonte Harper and Terrance Hill added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
JSU's lone senior, Amadou Mbodji scored four points, grabbed four boards and blocked a shot in the game. The fourth-year player from Kaolack, Senegal, ends his career as the school's career blocks leader with 162, in second place on the school's Division I rebounds list with 514. It was his 104th game in a JSU uniform, the sixth-most by any player in JSU's Division I history.
The Eagles shot 48 percent on the night and were 12-for-27 from behind the 3-point line, while also winning the battle on the boards, 44-27. They had 17 offensive rebounds to the Gamecocks' 10.