Jacksonville State men’s basketball team couldn’t quite finish the season strong as they lost their final game of the season to Belmont, 76-53, on Saturday evening.
Saturday was also Senior Day, when the senior players on the team were honored: Brian Williams, Nick Cook, Giovanni Smith and Rod McReynolds played their last game in a Gamecock uniform.
Although the score was tied twice, Belmont pretty much controlled the game throughout. Belmont started with an 8-0 run to begin the game.
JSU forward D.J. Felder scored Jacksonville State’s first points with a free throw with 16:08 left in the first half. They would soon tie the game 11-11 with a free throw by guard Darion Rackley.
After Williams tied it up for the second and last time at 13-13, Belmont would go on another 8-0 run. The Bruins would keep their lead and even extend it as they ended the first half leading 43-27. Belmont’s high point man in the first half was J.J. Mann with 10 points while Brian Williams led JSU with seven points.
The second half was actually closer than the first half considering Belmont scored 33 points in the second half and Jacksonville State scored 26. However, it really didn’t seem that way as Belmont still dominated.
The closest margin of the second half was when JSU was down by 14 points. That happened twice with 19:04 left in the second half and again with 12:56 left in the game.
Jacksonville State ended up losing by 23 points with a final score of 53-76.
All four of JSU’s seniors played on Senior Day. Although senior guards Rod McReynolds and Giovanni Smith didn’t make it in the scoring column, they did receive some minutes in their final game.
Senior forward Nick Cook scored five points with a block, a steal and 8 rebounds. Cook finished his career with 515 rebounds, the fourth-most in Jacksonville State’s Division I history.
His 132 blocks are second. Senior guard Brian Williams led the team with 15 points. Williams finishes his career with 1,267 points, which is 14th all-time and second in the Gamecocks Division I history. His 368 assists are third in the JSU Division I history books and eighth all-time.
Rackley was the only other player for the Gamecocks to score double digits against Belmont with 10 points.
Belmont is the top team in the Ohio Valley Conference and will be the No. 1 seed in the OVC tournament. With the win, Belmont clinches their second-straight OVC regular season crown.
It was a rough year for the JSU men as they end the season with an overall record 10-21. They lost their last eight games, finishing 4-12 in the conference and 7-6 at home. The JSU men’s basketball team as well as the Gamecock fans will be looking forward to a better year next season.