Jacksonville secured its spot in the upcoming Atlantic Sun Tournament with a 70-68 win over city rival North Florida in the latest edition of the SunTrust RiverCity Rumble. The win gives the Dolphins (13-14; 8-6) a regular season sweep of the Ospreys for the sixth time in the past seven years.
JU was led by 19 points and nine rebounds from freshman Jarvis Haywood (Charlotte, N.C.) and 16 points and six boards from junior guard Keith McDougald (Jacksonville, Fla.). It was freshman Kordario Fleming (Memphis, Tenn.) however who gave the Dolphins the lead for good in a tightly contested game that was highlighted by 10 ties and eight lead changes.
Fleming opened the second half with seven straight points to erase a two point advantage for UNF. The rookie forward then scored the final two of his 10 points to give JU a 69-68 lead with a drive along the left baseline with just over a minute remaining. The Dolphins defense would take care of the rest.
JU forced a UNF miss after Fleming's basket and senior Glenn Powell (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) secured the rebound to give the Dolphins possession with 46 seconds left. After a lay-up attempt was blocked out of bound with six seconds to go on the shot clock, McDougald was fouled on the in bounds pass. The junior guard hit the second of two free throws for a two-point JU lead with 10 ticks still to play.
As they did on the previous possession, the Dolphins defense once again rose to the occasion forcing a missed three by UNF's Parker Smith (22 points) as the final buzzer sounded.
The victory ended a three game slide for JU and improves the team to 8-1 inside Veterans Memorial Arena this season.
JU plays its final two home game of the year next week at Veterans Memorial Arena. The Dolphins host USC Upstate on Thursday at 7:00 pm and East Tennessee State on Saturday at 3:15 pm.