CENTRE – The Gadsden State-Cherokee Arena in Centre will host several Jacksonville State University basketball games beginning Nov. 1 while renovations at Pete Mathews Coliseum following March’s EF-3 tornado are being completed.
The first contest is set for this Thursday, Nov. 1, when the women’s team takes on Auburn-Montgomery in an exhibition contest. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The JSU women will return to the arena Tuesday, Nov. 27 for a regular-season contest against Montevallo. That game is also scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.
A day later on Wednesday, Nov. 28, the Gamecock men will take on Carver College at 11:30 a.m.
The public is invited to attend. Admission is free of charge.
The JSU women’s team, coached by Rick Pietri, is coming off a 19-12 season in 2017-18, which tied the school’s Division I record for wins in a single season. They were projected to finish third in the preseason Ohio Valley Conference poll, voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
The Gamecock men, guided by head coach Ray Harper, are also projected to finish third in the OVC this season. In just two years under Harper, Jacksonville State has reached the 20-win plateau twice, including a school Division I record 23 victories a season ago.
After winning the OVC Tournament Championship in 2017, the Gamecocks advanced to the semifinals a year ago and later advanced to play in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), just the second Division I national postseason tournament for the program.
Cherokee Center and Arena Social Marketing and Booking Manager Joy Perry said Jacksonville State contacted the Cherokee County Chamber office a few weeks ago to inquire about the arena’s availability, and the two organizations were able to work out the details.
“We are very excited to have JSU playing games in our county,” Perry said. “We want to do all we can to help our neighbor, Jacksonville State University. Cherokee County students and residents can come out and enjoy college games. It is also good for our economy to have people traveling to our area for these games.”
Jacksonville State Athletic Director Greg Seitz said the university is “very grateful to Cherokee County and the staff at the Cherokee Center and Arena for opening their doors to us while we are rebuilding from the tornado damage suffered to Pete Mathews Coliseum in March.”
“The Pete will be better than ever when it is completed, but we are also excited to take our basketball teams north and showcase our programs in what is a beautiful facility in Centre,” Seitz said. “The residents of Cherokee County have always been great supporters of our home events here on campus, so it’ll be fun to be able to go up there and play a few home games in their back yard.”
(Shannon Fagan/Cherokee County Herald/https://www.facebook.com/CherokeeCountyHerald/)