OVC Ball Statbox
|18-11 (11-5 OVC)|
|8-23 (4-12 OVC)|
|24/54 (44.4%)||Field Goals||21/61 (34.4%)|
|4/9 (44.4%)||3-Point FG||8/22 (36.4%)|
|30/33 (90.9%)||Free Throws||21/29 (72.4%)|
|44 (11/33)||Rebounds (O/D)||32 (10/22)|
|12||2nd Chance Pts||11|
|9||Points off TO||15|
|28||Pts in the Paint||24|
Tempo Tracker (Possessions)
Morehead State offense
Jacksonville State offense
What happened: A pair of career scoring nights from Morehead State’s Xavier Moon (pictured above) and Treshaad Williams helped fuel a second half surge to help Morehead State secure a single-bye in Nashville for the third straight year.
Moon’s 25 points off 7-10 shooting, and Williams 15 points off 3-4 shooting were supplemented with perfect nights from the free-throw line, (the two combined to hit 17-17 from the charity stripe) in the win. The Eagles hit 30-33 (90.9%) from the charity stripe, their highest percentage in a single game since hitting 11-12 against UT Martin in an overtime loss more than a year ago.
Jacksonville State got a monster performance from Greg Tucker, who scored a game-high 36 points in the loss, including hitting 7-11 from three-point range.
The Eagles hit 30-33 (90.9%) from the charity stripe, their highest percentage in a single game since…more than a year ago.
What it means: Until last Saturday, I had almost forgotten Morehead State was even in the mix for a single-bye. But as the rest of the league’s top teams suffered upset after upset, the Eagles won their final five straight to surge up the standings and secure the three-seed, which has two benefits: a single-bye, and avoiding Belmont until a potential rematch in the finals.
It does, though, mean the Eagles will have to go through UT Martin, who enter the conference tourney as winners of eight of their last nine games, although that ninth game was the most recent, a blowout loss at Murray State.
Either way, Morehead State has momentum. We saw a team on the women’s side win from the single-bye last season. Can a team outside the top two pull off an upset on the men’s side this year?
Player of the Night: Not only did Moon have a career scoring night, he sat for less than a minute the entire game.
What’s next: The Eagles await the winner of Murray State and Eastern Illinois in the second round of the OVC Tournament.
What it means: Three-straight sub-500 years in both overall record and conference play is one thing, but this was the worst of the bunch. Even with JSU’s relative struggles, you have to go back five to 2010-11 for the last time the Gamecocks didn’t win 10 games in a season.
Making matters even worse is how they lost those games — the Gamecocks didn’t play their trademark defense, and didn’t have the weapons on offense to compensate.
What does it mean for the future of head coach James Green? Time will tell.
Player of the Night: Hard to find fault with Tucker’s performance, but it’s hard to win when you only get four points off the bench.
What’s next: Counting down the days until JSU football can try to make their march back to the FCS title game.