Tennessee-Martin (4-26) at Jacksonville State (13-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 25th, 8:45 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Mathews Coliseum (5,500) -- Jacksonville, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Tennessee-Martin 2-12, Jacksonville State 8-4. Away Record: Tennessee-Martin 2-14, Jacksonville State 3-10. Neutral Record: Tennesse-Martin 0-0, Jacksonville State 2-3. Conference Record: Tennessee- Martin 0-15, Jacksonville State 7-8. Series Record: Jacksonville State leads, 35-21.
GAMES NOTES: The Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks will carry their winless conference mark into Pete Mathews Coliseum for an Ohio Valley Conference matchup with Jacksonville State in the regular-season finale for both squads.
Tennessee-Martin lost yet again on Thursday night taking an 85-67 drubbing from Austin Peay. The Skyhawks are now 0-15 in OVC action this season and have lost 17 of the last 18 games with the lone win a 76-75 win in overtime over Kennesaw State.
Jacksonville State has had a much stronger season by comparison and is playing well at the right time as the Gamecocks have won three of four heading into this matchup. The Gamecocks are 7-8 in the OVC, which is tied for sixth in the conference.
These teams met earlier in the month with the Gamecocks posting an 85-74 victory to extend their all-time series lead to 35-21.
Tennesse-Martin was behind big from the beginning as the Skyhawks trailed 43-30 at the end of the first half Thursday night against Austin Peay. They failed to get any closer as they shot just 44.2 percent from the floor while allowing the Governors to connect on 55.6 percent, including 8-of-15 from beyond the arc.
Not surprisingly Tennesse-Martin has not been a very good offensive team this season, scoring 63.2 points per game on a conference worst 41.6 percent shooting. Things don't get much better on defense, as the Skyhawks are surrendering an incredible 75.0 points per game. Mike Liabo and Myles Taylor have carried this team all season. Liabo (15.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg) is the teams leading scorer and was at it again by pouring in 27 points in Thursday.The team has been hurting though as Taylor has been held out of the last two games after he poured in a career-high 31 points against Kennesaw State. The scoring takes a big drop off after Liabo and Taylor, as Dane Smith (8.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) is the next highest scorer.
Despite shooting just 39.1 percent from the floor in its last matchup, Jacksonville State was able to post a 69-59 win over Southeast Missouri State by tightening up on defense and holding the Redhawks to just 33.9 percent shooting in the contest.
The Gamecocks defense has needed to be solid this season as the squad has played in number of close contests, averaging 64.6 points per game, while allowing 64.1. The Gamecocks suffer from a lack of ball movement (11.8 apg) and efficiency (.421) with the team second to last in the conference in both categories. Brian Williams scored 14 points to yet again lead the way on Thursday. The sophomore guard (13.4 ppg, 3.2 apg) is the team's leading scorer this season and has scored in double figures in 10 straight games. Junior forward Tarvin Gaines (10.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg) is the only other player averaging in double figures this season.
Jacksonville State is playing with a lot of confidence right now and heads into this game with hopes to continue that momentum. That shouldn't be asking too much for the Gamecocks who should have no problem with Tenenssee-Martin.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Jacksonville State 72, Tennessee-Martin 66
02/25 10:42:02 ET