Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team missed its first 12 shots from the field, four of its first six from the free throw line and all 11 three-point attempts in the first half in a 76-58 loss at Jacksonville State University on Thursday. The game was the Ohio Valley Conference opener for both teams.

Eastern’s first field goal didn’t come until the 8:04 mark of the first half. By that time the Colonels had connected on just 2-of-6 at the charity stripe, missed eight 3-point attempts, and trailed 17-4. JSU led by as many as 21, 29-8, in the first half.

EKU finished the first half just 4-of-22 from the field for 18 percent, 0-for-11 from behind the arc and 6-for-11 at the free throw stripe (55 percent).

DeAndre Dishman strung together six straight points late in the half with a lay-up and a free throw, a baseline drive to the bucket and another free throw to close the gap to 15, 29-14. However, the Gamecocks scored the final three points before intermission and led 32-14 at the break.

JSU didn’t set the world on fire in the first half, making 38 percent (12-of-32) of its shots from the floor, including just 1-of-10 from deep. The Colonels’ poor shooting led to many rebound opportunities for Jacksonville State, 29 total in the first half, but it was 12 offensive boards that the Gamecocks turned into seven second-chance points that hurt Eastern Kentucky the most.

EKU battled JSU to a 44-44 tie in the second half, but never got closer than 16.

Zach Charles finished with a season-high 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting for the Colonels (6-8, 0-1 OVC). Nick Mayo and Dishman had 11 points each.

Marlon Hunter had a game-best 20 points for the Gamecocks (10-4, 1-0 OVC). Norbertas Giga added 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Eastern Kentucky made 47 percent of its shots in the second half and shot 36 percent for the game. The Colonels finished 4-of-22 from three-point range. Jax State out-rebounded the visitors by 34, 57-23.

EKU continues its two-game OVC road trip at Tennessee Tech on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

— www.EKUSports.com —

Steve Fohl

Associate Director of EKUSports Communications