Men’s basketball starts February with two OVC victories

The Golden Eagles’ men’s basketball center Charles Jackson has been able to inflict 326 points and 233 rebounds on the Golden Eagles’ opponents so far this season.

Jackson was dominant Saturday night against the visiting Gamecocks of Jacksonville State. The junior owned the paint, earning 17 points and grabbing 16 rebounds off the boards. The performance marked the 15th double-double of the year for Jackson and warranted his fifth adidas Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week honor. His success on the court has lead to the creation of the new Twitter page @DidChuckDouble (DidChuckDoubleDouble).

“I got a Twitter (account) and it (@DidChuckDouble) followed me and I looked and I was like ‘What is going on?’” said Jackson. “It is kind of exciting. I am happy that I could bring something to this community; it is kind of an honor.”

Dwan Caldwell, Torrance Rowe and DeOndre Haynes had double figure performances against Jacksonville. Haynes’ 12 points was a season high for the sophomore.

The Golden Eagles wasted little time in taking control of the contest, stretching their lead to 14-5 near the 12:50 mark of the first half. Tech’s lead would be as much as 16 points before halftime.

At the break, Jackson and Caldwell lead the team with eight points each. The Golden Eagles had good ball control in the first half outrebounding the Gamecocks 25-13.

The dominance continued into the final half. Tech reached their largest lead of the night, 20 points, with 7:18 remaining. The Golden Eagles utilized free throws to finish off their OVC rival.

The Hooper Eblen Center was decked in gold when the Tennessee State University Tigers made the 80-mile trip to Cookeville Thursday. The Tigers were looking to end a two-game losing streak while the Golden Eagles wanted to avenge an 8-point loss to TSU earlier in the season.

The game was similar to a heavyweight fight early on, with neither team taking a convincing advantage. The break came for Tech in the form of a Josiah Moore layup, which began a 4-4 run for the Golden Eagles to end the half. The 12-point lead had little effect on the game plan for Head Coach Steve Payne.

“I did not think the game was over,” said Payne. “We always talk about the most inconsequential thing in all of sports is the halftime score.”

Like their outing against Jacksonville State, Tech was successful in controlling the ball and limited second chance shots for the Tigers.

“They did not bother us tonight. Their traps especially did not bother us,” said Payne. “We did a much better job of handling the basketball and had some easy (shots) on the back of it. We did a lot of things better tonight than we did in Nashville.”

Ball control has been the main theme for the Golden Eagles throughout the year. In their last two games, Tech has outrebounded their opponents 92-to-61 and has owned their opponents in the assist category 31-to-10. Tech has had one of the better back-to-back game performances of the season. The Golden Eagles appear to be heating up at the right time with the OVC tournament around the corner.