E.A. Sports Today

Taking a cue?

Jax State’s football team defied expectations in its first CUSA season, and the Gamecocks men’s basketball team is 2-0 in CUSA play after beating preseason co-favorite Liberty.

Cover photo: Jax State’s Quincy Clark drives against Liberty during Wednesday’s game in Lynchburg, Va.. (Photo by Matt Reynolds/Jax State)

By East Alabama Sports Today

LYNCHBURG, Va. — Jax State’s football team defied expectations in its first Conference USA season, and the men’s basketball team is taking a cue.

The Gamecocks won their sixth game in a row Wednesday and improved to 2-0 in CUSA, winning 61-51 at Liberty.

The Gamecocks (10-7) scored a 10-point win as double-digit underdog to the Flames (11-6, 0-2 CUSA).

The league’s nine coaches voted Liberty and Middle Tennessee as preseason co-favorites. They voted Jax State last.

Jax State’s football team was picked seventh ahead of its first season in Football Bowl Subdivision and CUSA but won nine games, including the program’s first-ever FBS bowl.

Two seasons ago, Jax State’s men’s basketball team snapped Liberty’s 45-game home winning streak as ASUN Conference foes. On Wednesday, the Gamecocks became the first visiting team to earn multiple road wins inside Liberty’s new arena since it opened in 2020.

Jax State led 26-21 at the half despite the league’s leading scorer, KyKy Tandy, being held to two points. Tandy finished with a team-high 14, leading four Gamecocks in double figures.

Andres Burney finished one point shy of a career high with 12, followed by Juwan Perdue with 11 and Marcellus Brigham Jr. with 10.

The Gamecocks led for more than 26 minutes, but not before the host Flames got off to a hot start. Jax State trailed 14-8 midway through the first half before Burney. Brigham, Quincy Clark and Caleb Johnson strung together a 12-0 run over the next six minutes.

Liberty connected on two of its nine total 3-pointers to pull back within two before heading to the break trailing by five.

Jax State carried its momentum into the second half, extending the margin to nine points on Perdue’s trey just minutes into the half.

Tandy started to heat up with a pair of deep shots to push the Gamecocks’ lead to double digits for the first time, at 40-29, with 12:10 left on the clock.

Down 12 with less than five minutes remaining, Liberty began a charge that saw the deficit cut as close as 57-51 with 45 seconds left. Clark and Perdue made four late free throws to seal the deal.

The Gamecocks finished 14-for-15 at the line collectively and turned the ball over two fewer times than the Flamers while also winning the rebounding battle, 38-30.

Jax State turns its attention to another tough road challenge, visiting Western Kentucky in Saturday afternoon’s game on CBS Sports Network.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login