With three straight home wins to kick off the 2012-13 season to their credit, the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State now take their act on the road as they challenge 18th-ranked UNLV as part of the Global Sports Classic at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The Gamecocks, members of the Ohio Valley Conference, have had some easy opponents on the schedule in the early going. The group started off with a 30- point win over Reinhardt, continued with a 61-54 triumph versus Eastern Michigan, and added a convincing 79-61 beating of Alabama A&M on Thursday.
A favorite to rule in the Mountain West Conference this season, the Runnin' Rebels have played just a single game to this point, a 92-54 romp over Northern Arizona in an earlier round in this event.
Following this first-ever meeting between JSU and UNLV, the Gamecocks will be involved in preliminary round action in this tourney yet again on Monday as they take on Oregon, while the next step in this event for the Rebels is a meeting with the same Oregon squad on Friday, Nov. 23 in this same building.
The defense for the Gamecocks was on point against Alabama A&M two nights ago as they limited the visitors to just 36.8 percent shooting from the floor, including 1-of-12 behind the three-point line. From an offensive standpoint, JSU was paced by Ronnie Boggs and Tarvin Gaines who both tallied 15 points and also combined for 14 rebounds. Starting guard Nick Cook accounted for 10 points and six rebounds, while reserve Chris Deanes tacked on 12 points in 22 minutes of action in order to help the squad to overcome 17 turnovers and just 2-of-10 accuracy on the perimeter. Through three games, Boggs leads a group of four double-digit scorers with his 12.0 ppg, shooting a staggering 68.0 percent from the floor. Brian Williams and Darion Rackley are in for 11.7 ppg apiece and Gaines another 11.0 ppg, although between the four of them they've shot just 6-of-35 from out on the perimeter.
It may have been just one game, but the Runnin' Rebels sure know how to make an entrance as they not only had five players score in doubled figures as the team shot an even 50 percent from the floor, the defense also limited NAU to just 25 percent from the field and forced the visitors into 18 turnovers. Perhaps most surprising was, that during the lopsided victory, Mike Moser finished with a mere two points, although he did clear a team-best 11 rebounds. Taking the scoring lead for the hosts was Anthony Bennett with his 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. Off the bench it was Bryce DeJean-Jones with 15 points, hitting 3-of-4 behind the three-point line, while Anthony Marshall and Katin Reinhardt accounted for 14 points apiece, the former handing out six assists as he made good on all six of his shot attempts. Savon Goodman played just 16 minutes off the bench, but that was enough for him to generate 11 points and five boards, as the team steam-rolled NAU on the glass, 51-29.