The Gamecocks snapped a two-game losing streak and won their third straight game at home by beating Alcorn State 63-52, but that wasn’t the ah-ha moment of the day.
While the beginning of the game didn’t make anybody happy with both teams combining for a 2-for-23 start from the field, the Gamecocks continued to play defense while they struggled to find their touch.
“I thought the one thing we did different tonight than we’ve done in some other games was started the game a little bit better on the defensive end, “ Green said. “In games before if we weren’t scoring we’d be down 12 or 13 to nothing right away. But we continued to guard them early on and it set the tone for the game.
“It’s like if we can’t, you can’t and hopefully we’ll get started before you get started. I thought that happened in the first half.”
The Gamecocks (4-7) finally got their spark by putting Avery Moore in the game. The mid-year junior transfer, playing just his second game with JSU since having his eligibility restored, entered at the second media timeout and promptly hit two 3-pointers that propelled the Gamecocks into the lead.
He finished with nine points in 17 minutes. He had 10 points in his JSU debut at hometown Florida State on Saturday.
“I’m not all the way comfortable yet, but I’m getting comfortable,” Moore said. “Coach brought me in at the right time for me to get comfortable.
“I think the right time is any time my number is called. I try to bring momentum to the team. I know if I hit shots, my teammates will start hitting shots. We started slow at first, but we picked it up on defense and got it rolling.”
Avery’s 3s sparked an 18-2 run that gave the Gamecocks control. While they found the range, Alcorn continued to struggle. The Braves scored only 15 points in the first half and had only four field goals.
The Braves (3-6) were still shooting only 17 percent when the Gamecocks opened a 20-point lead with 14:52 to play. The Gamecocks held them to 29.2 percent for the game.
“I can’t remember when we held a team to that,” Green said.
They held Tennessee State to 29.8 shooting in January 2012.
Undra Mitchell led the Gamecocks with 13 points. Jamal Hunter had 10 points and nine rebounds. Brian Williams had eight points and eight assists. And Teraes Clemmons came off the bench with what Green called “extra effort” to give them seven points, five rebounds and three steals.
Alcorn’s LeAntwan Luckett led all scorers with 17 points.
Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.