Against a longer Eagles (1-1) squad that won the Mid-American Conference’s West Division a year ago, the Gamecocks (2-0) used physical play inside to jump to their first 2-0 start since the 2003-04 season. JSU outrebounded EMU and outscored the Eagles 34-20 in the paint, despite not playing a player over 6-foot-7 against an EMU roster that features five players at 6-foot-8 or taller.
Sophomore Darion Rackley led three JSU players in double figures with 17 points, while junior Brian Williams scored 16. Both players scored 11 apiece in the final 20 minutes. Williams grabbed four boards, while dishing five assists and committing just one turnover in 36 minutes on the floor. He helped control an offense that had assists on 14 of its 20 field goals but turned it over just 11 times, four in the second half.
The Gamecocks struggled to make shots fall against the taller Eagles but went elsewhere for its production. They took the ball inside, where they got over half of their points and where they corralled the majority of their 36 rebounds, 16 of which came on the offensive end. That and 16 points off of 18 EMU turnovers helped offset a .385 shooting percentage and a 3-for-19 night from beyond the arc.
Ronnie Boggs flirted with a double-double in an efficient 35 minutes on the court. He was 5-for-6 from the floor and led the Gamecocks with seven rebounds, four of which were on the offensive glass. Tarvin Gaines scored just four points but grabbed six boards.
JSU will wrap up a stretch of five-straight home games to start play in 2012-13 on Thursday, when the Gamecocks welcome in-state foe Alabama A&M to Pete Mathews Coliseum for a 7 p.m. tipoff.