JSU falls to Shockers, 60-57, on final shot heroics

WICHITA, Kan. – A 35-foot three-pointer from Wichita State’s Tyson Etienne with two seconds remaining was enough to drop Jacksonville State, 60-57, on the opening night of the season that saw the Gamecocks nearly pull out a shocking victory.
 
Jax State (0-1) led the defending American Athletic Conference champions for more than 27 minutes on the night where the Shockers (1-0) unveiled a pair of banners in the rafters of Charles Koch Arena showcasing their latest AAC title and NCAA Tournament berth. Playing spoiler to WSU’s party, JSU led the entire first half and had Yellow and Black faithful on edge for most of the second.
 
Senior Darian Adams sparked the Gamecocks early with nine first-half points. He finished with 14 as one of three Gamecocks to reach double figures led by senior Kayne Henry’s 15. Fellow senior Brandon Huffman pitched in 10 points and led JSU on the glass with seven boards. Henry, and newcomer Jalen Gibbs, who made his first start for JSU on Tuesday, each grabbed five rebounds.
 
JSU shot well from the floor all night, finishing at 42-percent, but were plagued at the free throw line converting on just five of 11 attempts, which all came in the second half. That, along with 17 turnovers compared to just 11 takeaways ultimately kept Jax State from putting the game away sooner.
 
After a 6-0 start, JSU led 14-9 after a pair of Demaree King triples. WSU evened things at 19-19 with just over four minutes left in the opening half, but back-to-back treys from Henry this time opened a six-point advantage for JSU that would be down to four, 27-23, at halftime.
 
The Shockers were instantly back in it to begin the second half, but still couldn’t grab the led from JSU until taking a 36-34 edge with 14 minutes to play. For JSU to control the first 25 minutes, the final 15 never belonged to either team with 11 ties and nine lead changes. Down four with seven minutes left, JSU mounted a 6-0 run to reclaim the lead once again for a brief moment.
 
Etienne put WSU up 57-55 with 30 seconds remaining on a jumper that most in the building would have expected to be his biggest of the night, before the finish. Jalen Finch hit a driving layup on the following possession to knot the score at 57 with 20 seconds on the clock. Looking for a stop, or even a possible turnover, JSU locked down the Shockers until Etienne pulled up from the yellow paint on the center court logo to bury the eventual game-winner with 2.2 ticks to go.  
 
JSU returns home on Saturday to host Alabama A&M at Pete Mathews Coliseum.
 
 

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