Five Gamecocks reach double figures in 82-63 exhibition win

JACKSONVILLE – Returning a veteran core from its 2020-21 team, the Jacksonville State men’s basketball team didn’t take long to find its rhythm again during an 82-63 exhibition win over Georgia Southwestern on Wednesday night.
 
Coach Ray Harper‘s squad saw five Gamecock reach double digits scoring, led by senior Darian Adams’ 17 points. He was joined by Brandon Huffman and Jalen Finch with 14 points each, followed by Kayne Henry (12) and newcomer Caleb Byrd with 11. Huffman and Henry ruled the inside with nine boards apiece, while GSW earned just 26 points in the paint.
 
With all the positives, there certainly proved to be learning points from the contest as well that Harper will take back to the film room.
 
“You got a chance to see we’re a work in progress,” said the sixth-year head man following the win. “At times we play hard, I thought in the first half we probably played some guys that when they got fatigued didn’t play as well, and then a couple of times we weren’t organized with some things that we have to be organized with going forward.”
 
The two sides felt each other out for the opening 10 minutes of action. A triple from Byrd handed JSU its first double-digit advantage at 18-8 with 10:23 to play before the half. Following back-to-back treys from Finch late in the half, JSU maintained the 10-point edge with a 37-27 halftime lead.
 
Adams buried consecutive three-pointers five minutes into the second half to push JSU out to its largest lead to point at 50-34. The momentum built from there and the Gamecocks used a 10-o run to break the contest open. The margin grew to as much a 27 down the stretch at 77-50, before the Hurricanes closed the final three minutes with some outside shots to bring it back under 20.
 
Donte Tatum led GSW with 18 points behind 3-of-3 shooting from long range.
 
The Gamecocks get back to work the rest of the week preparing for the official start of the 2021-22 campaign, which will come on Tuesday night at Wichita State against the reigning American Athletic Conference champions. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN+.
 
“It will be a tough assignment, great crowd. The thing we’ll have to guard against is getting caught up in the crowd, they get you going, the crowd gets involved and they force you into a turnover or bad shot and all the sudden the avalanche is on. You have to keep your poise.”
 

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