The Gamecocks (15-7, 7-4 Ohio Valley Conference) kept the Eagles (11-13, 5-5 OVC) off of the scoreboard for the first 3:54 of the game and led by as many as 22 in winning their third in a row. The win also clinches JSU’s first winning record since the 2005-06 season and just the fourth in its 18-year Division I history.
The trio of Tarvin Gaines, Ronnie Boggs and Brian Williams carried the load on the scoreboard for the Gamecocks, combining for 60 of the team’s 70 points.
Gaines led all scorers with 23 points and played a big role in pacing the Gamecocks to a .659 field goal percentage and a .545 clip from behind the 3-point line, both season highs.
Gaines was 8-for-9 from the floor, 2-for-2 from 3-point land and 5-for-7 from the free throw line to notch his third 20-point scoring night in the past six games.
He also swiped three of the team’s season-best 14 steals and blocked a shot.
Boggs went 8-for-11 in his 19-point effort, one that also saw him block a pair of shots and dish two assists. Williams scored 18 and dished six assists.
Senior Mason Leggett didn’t score but was a big reason for his team’s production. The Zachary, La., native dished a career-high eight assists and grabbed a career-best four steals, helping turn Morehead State over 25 times to lead to a 34-10 advantage in points off turnovers. JSU assisted 20 of its 27 field goals.
The Eagles got 12 points off of the bench from Jourdan Stickler, while Drew Kelly and Milton Chavis pitched in 10 apiece. Kahlil Owen’s six rebounds led all players and led MSU to a 37-15 advantage on the glass.
The Eagles were 1-for-10 from behind the 3-point line, the fourth time a JSU foe has shot less than 20 percent from outside this season and the 15th time one has shot less the 30 percent. The Gamecocks entered the day ranked 11th in the nation with a .281 field goal percentage defense.
The Gamecocks raced out of the gates to an 11-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game and held the Eagles without a field goal for the first 5:13.
The Gamecocks wrap up a four-game homestand with a 3-1 record and will travel to Cookeville, Tenn., for a Feb. 9 matchup with Tennessee Tech. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.