JU wins 12th straight at home


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University won by a nose, 83-80, in a barnburner of a game against Florida Gulf Coast University tonight.

“Our guys have done a pretty good job of understanding time and score,” said Head Coach Tony Jasick. “We defend at a pretty high level without fouling, and we did a great job of making free throws when we needed to.”

The Dolphins continued their hot shooting in the beginning of the second half, sinking four of their first six attempts. JU led by 12, 54-42, at the first media stoppage of the period. At the second media, the lead had grown to 15, 63-48. FGCU again fought back into the game, pulling within two, 67-65, with 5:55 remaining, again within two, 79-77, with 44 seconds left, and finally pulling within one 81-80, with just one second left. Darien Fernandez inbounded the ball and was fouled with .6 seconds remaining. He sunk both free throws, and the Eagles missed a half-court hail mary.

J.R. Holder led the Dolphins in scoring with 23 points on 7-11 shooting. The junior forward also had six boards and three assists. Kori Babineaux had 22 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Marcel White had 18 points, three rebounds, three steals, and one assist. Fernandez had 12 points, three boards, two steals, and one rebound, and Antwon Clayton had eight points, six boards, two steals, one assist, and one block.

“Part of it is having guys with the right attitude,” said Jasick. “Some of them didn’t play much early but are playing now, and vice versa. If you don’t have guys with good character, they can start pouting and it can get ugly. We’ve got enough guys that can play great basketball, and you saw that tonight.”

Jacksonville got off to one of its best starts of the season, connecting on its first six shot attempts. The Dolphins led 13-7 at the first media timeout. The lead grew to nine points, 18-9, before FGCU would start to fight back. The Eagles would pull within three points, 20-17, with 10:29 left in the half, and get within two, 22-20, with 10:16 left. But JU responded with a run of its own, outscoring FGCU 21-12 for the rest of the half. At one point the Dolphins held FGCU without a basket for eight straight possessions. At the half, Jacksonville led FGCU 43-32.

The Dolphins go back on the road on Saturday to take on Stetson in DeLand, Fla, then travel to Lipscomb next Thursday and head to Kennesaw State next Saturday.

•       This is the first time Jacksonville University has swept Florida Gulf Coast since 2010.
•       Kori Babineaux has played all 40 minutes in four straight games, and seven of eight A-Sun games.
•       The Dolphins are now 14-1 when leading at the half.
•       Jacksonville has now won 12 games in a row dating back to last season. That ties the third-most home wins in a row in program history. (12 games in a row from Jan. 03, 1995-Dec. 18, 1995)