COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Jacksonville State beat Tennessee Tech on the road 66-57 on Saturday, locking up the No. 4 seed for next week’s Ohio Valley Conference tournament.
With the standings in a jumble entering the final Saturday of the regular season, JSU (20-11, 11-7 OVC) got a win to break out of a three-way tie for fourth place.
Tennessee Tech (18-13, 10-8) and Tennessee State (15-14, 10-8) entered the day tied with the Gamecocks but both lost.
Marlon Hunter paced the Gamecocks with 14 points and five rebounds.
Norbertas Giga added 11 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Christian Cunningham scored 10 pounts and pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds.
Jason Burnell scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds. Malcolm Drumwright had eight points and a team-high four assists while playing 38 minutes.
Through the first 5:40, Jacksonville State broke out to a 9-3 lead and never trailed. The Gamecocks pushed their first-half lead to as much as eight when Maurice Dunlap sank a 3-pointer with 4:21 left for a 24-16 advantage. JSU went into the locker room ahead 26-19.
Early in the second half, Tech cut the advantage to six, but JSU shot back out by 12. Hunter scored in the paint, and Cunningham followed with a basket. Hunter added another bucket for a 37-25 advantage.
Tech managed to slice the lead to three points after that three times, but JSU never allowed the Eagles to get closer. In the last two minutes, Ashton Spears made all four foul shots he tried, and Drumwright made three of four to ice the victory.