Jacksonville State Gamecocks (7-2)
- Head Coach: Ray Harper (2nd Season)
- Top Performer: Malcolm Drumwright (14.4 PPG, 3.2 APG)
- Points For: 81.1 PPG (73rd)
- Points Against: 63.6 PPG (32nd)
- Last Game/Streak: 75-56 Win vs. Louisiana-Monroe (3W)
Picked in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll as second place finishers to Belmont, Jacksonville State is on a mission to prove themselves this season.
It’s true. Nobody quite believes that second year head coach Ray Harper’s squad has what it takes to be a legitimate mid-major program in the national picture. Even after finding their rhythm late during last season and coasting to a conference tournament championship, the hype around the Gamecocks is missing.
What is it about this team that just makes them lack the credit they deserve?
From the outside, skeptics will say that the relative lack of praise comes from an absence of signature victories for Jacksonville State, as in their biggest test this season on the road at Mississippi State, the Gamecocks came up short. But however, it seems like Harper and company are almost in the same boat as Oregon State in a way.
They are simply just a group trying to prove that they are for real in the bigger picture.
If the Beavers want to prove their legitimacy, win their fifth straight game and improved to one of the better overall records in the conference, they’ll need to find ways to slow down a likeable Gamecocks squad, who ranks in the top 75 nationally in points, rebounds, assists and points allowed per game.
They’ll also have to keep their improved style of play going, which has been pivotal to their recent string of success.
When the Beavers find balance and play with purpose, they’re shaping up to be a team who can turn heads in the conference. But when they play uninspired and allow mid-major programs to walk into their gym and steal victories, the questions still remain around this group.
Will the real Oregon State (and Jacksonville State) please stand up?
Players To Watch
Malcolm Drumwright (SR - Guard): A player who’s connected on nine three-pointers over his team’s last two contests, it seems that senior guard Malcolm Drumwright is hitting his stride, just in time for a road trip to Corvallis. The head of the snake for Jacksonville State, who is entering his third straight season of averaging at least 12.5 PPG, there’s no part of the Gamecocks success that happens without Drumwright being at the middle of it all. He’ll need help around him on Tuesday night, but don’t get it twisted. Jacksonville State goes as Drumwright goes.
Norbertas Giga (SR - Forward): A seven-foot Lithuanian center who anchors the front-court for the Gamecocks, Norbertas Giga is a one-time unproven and raw junior college transfer whose developed all the way up the Jacksonville State depth chart. Now one of the team’s most enigmatic pieces, it seems to be mostly “hit-or-miss” efforts from the versatile big man, who mixes a unique post-and-perimeter game. When he’s on, Giga is hard to stop. When he’s off, he creates a mess out there for the Gamecocks.
Jamall Gregory (JR - Guard): The “glue-guy” for Jacksonville State, 6’ 3” guard Jamall Gregory is one of those pieces who Oregon State will have to lock in on from the on-set, to be sure that the Gamecocks offensive approach doesn’t become a three-pronged effort. Like Giga, Gregory is definitely an enigma for this group on the court at times, as he’s capable of a two-or-twenty point outing in any given game. But when Gregory is filling up the stat-sheet in other areas, with assists, rebounds and steals, is when this squad really finds their rhythm.
- Date: Tuesday, December 12th
- Time: 7:00 PM PT
- Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Networks