JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- Jason Burnell had 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, Marlon Hunter scored 24 points, and Jacksonville State defeated Murray State 88-68 on Thursday night in a showdown for first-place in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Murray State's Ja Morant, averaging 24.1 points and 10.5 assists per game, scored 22 points for the Racers (16-4, 7-2 OVC). He had 11 assists and six rebounds but was 7 of 18 from the field, including 1 of 7 from 3-point distance. Tevin Brown scored 17 points but missed nine of his 13 3-pointers. The Racers were 7 of 27 from 3-point range.
Burnell had his 10th double-double of the season for the Gamecocks (16-6, 8-1). Ty Hudson had 15 points and five assists.
Jacksonville State led 41-34 at halftime after shooting 53 percent. The Gamecocks were even hotter in the second half, shooting 62 percent to finish at 58 percent overall.
Jacksonville State went up by double digits early in the second half and the lead reached 77-57 after a 3-pointer by Burnell with 4:45 to go.
Although both teams lost their previous OVC game, they entered tied for first place in the conference. Jacksonville State takes sole possession of the lead and Murray State falls into a second-place tie with Belmont and Austin Peay.
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