Basketball teaser

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — A rally before the half and 37 second-period points were not enough to lift the Jacksonville State men's basketball team at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Saturday afternoon, as the Gamecocks fell 75-67.

Despite struggling to score early on, four Gamecocks ended the afternoon with double-figure point totals. Junior Jason Burnell recorded his first career double-double, totaling 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Jamall Gregory led all JSU scorers with 14 points and four assists. Norbertas Giga and Malcolm Drumwright had 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Jacksonville State (17-8, 8-4) is in fourth place in the Ohio Valley Conference now, trailing first-place Belmont (19-6, 11-1), second-place Murray State (17-5, 9-2) and third-place Austin Peay (13-10, 8-3). SIUE improved to 8-15, including 4-8 in the league.

The Gamecocks got off to a slow start and found themselves in a 17-point hole after 15 minutes of play. Jacksonville State trailed 33-16 at the 5:37 mark and was shooting just 30 percent before the under-8 media timeout.

JSU began to right the ship within the final five minutes of the first half, hitting a 14-5 run to cut the deficit to eight, 38-30, at the break. Cam Martin pitched in five points during the run, followed by four from Jamall Gregory. During the stretch, the Gamecocks improved their half's shooting percentage to an even 50 percent, ending the period 11-for-22 from the floor. Gregory and Martin each tallied seven points in the half.

Averaging nearly two points a minute in the first half, the Jacksonville State defense allowed just five points in the final five minutes. The Cougars began the half shooting 50 percent and were out-rebounding the Gamecocks 9-4 at the halfway mark, but the JSU defense allowed just two field goals in the last five minutes. Jacksonville State out-rebounded SIUE 9-7 for the final 12 minutes of the period.

Jacksonville State came within three points of tying the contest in the second half, but SIUE kept the pedal down and outscored the Gamecocks 38-37 to close out the game. A Cunningham layup put JSU within five, 64-59, with four minutes left, but an SIUE basket and 3-pointer extended the advantage back to 10 with 1:30 remaining.

The Cougars were led by David McFarland who scored 15 points and was 6-for-11 shooting. He knocked down a team-high three 3-pointers. Keenan Simmons tallied 14 points and Jalen Henry had 13.

The Gamecocks return home Thursday to take on Tennessee Tech on ESPNU. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at Pete Mathews Coliseum.