The Gamecocks’ seventh straight loss dropped them to 10-20, including 4-11 in OVC play, with only Saturday’s season finale at home against Belmont remaining.
They haven’t won since scoring their first win at Austin Peay on Jan. 23.
The Gamecocks jumped out to an early 12-7 lead in the Eblen Center, with Gio Smith scoring eight, but Tech (15-14, 8-6) came to life and outscored them 30-10 the rest of the half to open a 15-point lead at the break when coach James Green was looking to be down five and regroup.
“That made a big difference in the psyche, particularly when you haven’t been winning,” Green said on his post-game radio show. “A game gets broken open like that in the first half it makes it very difficult.”
But the Gamecocks made a run. They closed to within 41-31 in the second half and had two possessions to get the deficit into single digits, but turned it over and missed two free throws. They fell back into what Green called “the stuff that got us in trouble in the first half,” Tech pushed the lead back to 21 and rode out the final.
Brian Williams scored 13 points and was the only JSU player to score in double figures. Smith, Michael Louder and Darion Rackley had eight each.
Dennis Ogbe, Jeremiah Samarrippas and Dwan Caldwell scored 13 points apiece for the Golden Eagles. Ogbe also grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Gamecocks shot 38 percent from the field, 4-for-20 from 3-point range, were outrebounded 43-34 and outscored in the paint 44-28. In the two games on this road trip, the Gamecocks have been outscored 102-44 in the paint.
“One of our biggest problems was the offensive board and that’s what changed the tone of the game, the fact they could go back and get on the boards the way that they did,” Green said. “We played Michael Louder and he’s very weak in the post and we know that and the guys were saying ‘Coach, we’re getting hurt in the post with Mike.’ I said, ‘We’re getting hurt with everybody else in the post, too.’
“All those points that are coming in the paint are not just posts. It’s being created by us not being able to stay in front of the ball. It’s very difficult to defend in the post when people are catching the ball at the 3-point line all night and playing without a lot of pressure on the ball and being able to see how to pass the ball well into the post. … It’s a combination of things and it just goes back to say we’re not a very good defensive team.”