JSU basketball

Jacksonville State faced Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at home Saturday.

JACKSONVILLE — With the one this one went, it could end only one way.

Jamall Gregory slammed home an emphatic dunk, for Jacksonville State's final points of the day. That put a button on JSU's 90-54 blowout of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

You name a part of the game, JSU dominated. The Gamecocks led by double-figures less than six minutes into the game and built the advantage from there. They made more than twice as many baskets (36-17) and almost doubled up SIUE in rebounds (47-24).

It all added up to the Gamecocks' largest margin of victory in a league game since it joined the Ohio Valley Conference in 2003.

"Practice," JSU's Jacara Cross said when asked what's responsible for the big win. "The last couple of days of practice, we've been getting after it hard."

In addition, JSU is 4-0 in the league and has won five straight games, matching a win streak from earlier this year. The last time the Gamecocks won that many in a row was November 2014 when JSU beat Miles, Alabama A&M, Savannah State, Fort Valley State and Winthrop in a row.

It helped that Cross produced such a big game. Starting in place of injured post player Christian Cunningham (back spasms), he managed a career-high 15 points in 15 minutes of playing time. He made all seven of his shots and his only free throw.

"He's starting to slow down and let the game come to him and play really well," JSU coach Ray Harper said. "He had some really good post moves, and he's been really good for us on the defensive end. It's huge with Christian getting hurt. He's stepping up at the right time."

Next for JSU comes a Thursday night home game against OVC preseason favorite Belmont, which fell to the Gamecocks in Nashville on Jan. 3. JSU won 83-73 for its fourth straight win in the series.

"They'll make some changes, I'm sure," Harper said. "We'll make some changes, some additions. We always add a little bit each week. We'll throw a few new wrinkles in this week, as well. Should be a great game and hopefully people will come out to The Pete and pack this place Thursday night."

JSU drew a season-high 2,275 on Thursday when it beat EIU, and Saturday's game drew 2,189. That's the best since 2,393 came to Pete Mathews Coliseum for JSU's home win over Belmont last year.

What to know

—Cunningham played 12 minutes off the bench and had two points and four rebounds. He played 12 minutes in the last game, a 69-62 win over Eastern Illinois, and sat out the game before that. "I don't think he's 100 percent, and we're not going to push him. Today, I didn't think we had to," Harper said.

—Jason Burnell had 17 points and nine rebounds, both of which were game highs. He also had a pair of assists and two steals.

—Marlon Hunter had 14 points, four rebounds and a couple of assists.

Who said

—Harper on wanting a raucous crowd for Thursday's Belmont game like last week against EIU: "If we could get them in here Thursday night like they were last Thursday, that would be huge."

—Cross on how he found out he had scored a career-high points: "My teammates. My teammates were real happy. When I came to the bench, they were happy for me and told me."

Next up

—Jacksonville State (12-5, 4-0 OVC) will host Belmont (12-3, 3-1) at home Thursday at 7:15 p.m. The Gamecocks' women will face Belmont beforehand at 5:15 p.m. Both Belmont teams were picked to win the league this season.

Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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