McCoy scores 40 but J-State prevails

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2006

JACKSON – For the past 5 weeks, the Jackson State Universitymen’s basketball team has been on the road; fostering a 4-6 record.The last 2 weeks, JSU had not played a game; thus preparing forfinal exams.

On Monday night, JSU welcomed cross-town rival Tougaloo to theLee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center after a long roadtrip and their initial home game of the season.

In the first half, both teams looked rather sluggish by shootingunder 40 percent. But the Tigers warmed up in the second half,holding off the stubborn Bulldogs 77-74 before an estimated crowdof nearly 2,000.

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The victory for JSU (5-6) was not secure, until former SouthPike High School standout Kevin McCoy’s trey from the right wingbounced off the rim as time expired. McCoy, a 6-foot-4 junior fromMagnolia, had the Midas touch for the Gulf Coast AthleticConference Bulldogs (1-6); sacking a career-high 40 points on thenight. He had 29 in the second half, including a barrage of treys(4) and spin moves for basket; clawing up the Tiger defense.

“It was one of those nights that God was with me on every shot,”said the soft-spoken McCoy who also had 9 rebounds, 3 blockedshouts, 5 steals and 4 assists. “We played hard. We should have wonthe game.”

With 3:50 left in the game and JSU clinging to a 67-62 lead, theBulldogs went to work. Tougaloo closed the gap to 2 points, 76-74on McCoy’s 3-point basket with 16 seconds left on the clock.

JSU’s Trey Johnson drained 1-of-2 free throws with 4 seconds tomake it a 3-point game.

Former Brookhaven High and Co-Lin alumnus Brandon Caston wasinstrumental in the Bulldogs attack. He tallied 12 points, to goalong with 2 steals and 3 assists. Both McCoy and Caston (a5-foot-8 junior from Brookhaven) start for dapper Tougaloo headcoach Lafayette Stribling.

“Trey (JSU point guard Catraiva Givens) was the best point guardthat I have faced all year,” said Caston. “He pushed me up and downthe floor all night long. Jackson State showed where we stood asfar as a team needs to be.”

The Southwestern Athletic Conference Tigers led 27-21 athalftime. A 29 percent shooting in the first half did not set wellwith JSU head coach Tevester Anderson.

“We were atrocious in the first half,” said Anderson, a Cantonnative. “We were fortunate in the second half. McCoy shot thelights out tonight.”

Those who came to see the nation’s leading scorer in JSU’s TreyJohnson, saw him limited to 19 points. Johnson, a 6-foot-5 guardfrom Jackson, came into the game leading the nation with an averageof 31.1 points per game.

“They (Tougaloo) came out and defended me well tonight,” Johnsonsaid. Give them credit, they played well tonight. We were able tohold them in the second half.”

Jasper Hall, a 6-foot-4 guard from Brookhaven via MeridianCommunity College, saw his first action of the season lastnight.

“This was my first game,” said Hall, who netted 6 points off thebench. “We played well. Jackson State has a good team. I am justgetting my feet wet, trying to help the team.”