JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Despite making just one of its first seven shots, Jacksonville University's men's basketball team managed to extend its unbeaten streak at home this season, improving to 3-0 at The Historic Swisher Gym with a 92-73 win over Florida Memorial University.
"We started to get some stops," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "The first half was a half-court game. Those stops allowed us to get out in transition, and we're doing a better job of finding our guys that can shoot the ball, which allows us to open up the game a little bit."
The Dolphins came out of the half-time locker room on fire, draining their first three shots in an 8-3 run. The Lions fought back within 10 with 16:54 left in the game, but Jacksonville responded with a 10-2 run, giving the Dolphins a 55-37 lead with 14:22 remaining. JU would hold at least a nine-point lead for the rest of the game, and closed out the half with a 29-19 run, winning by 19 points.
The Dolphins were paced by Marcel White, who shot 80 percent from three (4-5) for 17 points. Kori Babineaux also had 17 points, and Darius Dawkins had 14. Omar El Manasterly impressed in his first career start, hitting all six of his free throws and shooting 3-4 from the field to total 12 points.
"At the end of the day we're going to play the guys who practice the right way and play the hardest," continued Jasick. "Omar has earned it. Nobody has given him anything, and he's kept plugging away. He earned the opportunity to start tonight, and fortunately for our team I thought he did a nice job."
The Dolphins struggled from the field early, shooting 30 percent from the floor for the first nine minutes of the half. JU trailed the Lions 11-14 at the second media timeout. Out of the timeout the Dolphins found their range, and they were able to go on an 11-4 run over the next four minutes, jumping out to a 25-20 lead with 7:38 left in the half. Florida Memorial pulled with four at 29-25, but JU closed out the half with an 8-0 run. The Dolphins led 37-25 at halftime, thanks in part to a perfect mark at the free throw line (7-7).
With the win the Dolphins improve to 3-5 overall, and the Lions drop to 3-4. Jacksonville heads back on the road Saturday for an 8:00 p.m. tipoff at Jacksonville State.