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January 19, 2012

Gamecocks escape Eblen Center with 63-62 victory as time expires

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Dion Waiters drove the baseline and scored a basket, drew the foul and converted the three-point play as the horn sounded to lift visiting Jacksonville State to a stunning 63-62 victory over Tennessee Tech Thursday night in Ohio Valley Conference basketball action.

While everyone in the arena thought Tech had won the game, officials ruled that the play occurred before the clock had reached zero. They put one second back on the clock but Tech's last-ditch attempt was well off the mark.

Jacksonville State (7-14/2-6 OVC) was led by Tarvin Gaines with 15 points, while Daroin Rackley added 11 and Brian Williams added 10. Waters finished with nine, while Ronnie Boggs chipped in seven points and seven rebounds.

The Golden Eagles (11-8/3-3 OVC) got 21 points and 13 rebounds from junior Jud Dillard, who was 11-for-12 at the free throw line. It was his fifth double-double of the season. Freshman Javon McKay scored a career-high 15 points while Kevin Murphy added seven points and seven rebounds. Point guard Zac Swansey had five assists to move into fifth place on the Tech career list.

JSU jumped on top early and led by as many as 12 points in the first half, following a 14-4 run. The Gamecocks were up by eight at halftime, 37-29.

Tech slowly worked its way back into the contest in the second half, using an 11-1 run to eventually tie the game at 42-42. The contest was knotted two more times, before Tech moved on top 47-46 with 7:34 remaining.

A 3-pointer by Zach Bailey made it a six-point Tech lead, 54-48, with 5:26 left, but JSU wouldn't fold. The Gamecocks scored the next six points to tie the game at 54-54 with 2:50 left.

Twice in the final two minutes Tech gained a four-point advantage, the second at 61-57 with 19 seconds to play after Murphy made one of two free throws.

Brian Williams scored a 3-pointer with eight seconds left to make it a 61-60 Tech lead, and the Gamecocks quickly fouled Murphy with six seconds left. The senior made one but missed the second, leaving the difference at two points.

The Gamecocks took the rebound the length of the floor before Waiters controversial play shocked the crowd.

Most of the game's numbers were pretty even, except in rebounds where the Golden Eagles had a 37-24 advantage. JSU had a large edge in 3-point shooting as the Gamecocks were 6-of-17 while Tech was just 1-for-9.

The game included a "blizzard" following Tech's first basket of the game (photo below), one of the highlights of the night for the crowd of 2,424.

Tech is right back in action Saturday night hosting a red-hot Southeast Missouri team at 7:30 p.m., the second game of an OVC doubleheader. The women's game opens the night's action at 5:30 p.m.

For ticket information, please call (931) 3872-3940 or visit the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m.