JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two seniors came up big on senior night in a 76-73 win for Jacksonville University (16-12, 4-7 ASUN) over NJIT (9-18, 1-10 ASUN). Andris Misters hit one of the biggest threes of his career on a rebound from Omar El Manasterly with just three seconds left on the clock to lift JU over the scrappy Highlanders in the final regular season game in Historic Swisher Gym in the 2016-17 season.
"Heck of a game tonight," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "Give our guys credit. We played much closer to a complete game than we have in a long, long time. It was incredible to have a senior catch an offensive rebound and kick it out to another senior, both of whom had their minutes go up and down over the last few years. I couldn't be happier for those two guys to complete the game-winning play."
Jacksonville continued to push its advantage at the start of the second half; the Dolphins outscored the Highlanders 7-2 in the first four minutes to stretch their lead to 10, 49-39, with 16 minutes left. The Dolphins and Highlanders traded baskets for the next six minutes; NJIT would chop the lead down to as little as two and JU would stretch it back out to nine. With 10 minutes left, NJIT's Tim Coleman put the Highlanders on his back. The senior scored 19 of his team's final 24 points and gave them the lead, 73-71, with just 29 seconds left.
The Dolphins immediately inbounded the ball and set up their play. Darien Fernandez took an open three-point look, but it was off just enough to bounce off the rim right to El Manasterly. The senior from Alexandria, Egypt, tipped the ball right to Misters at the top of the key. Misters then set his feet, jumped, and sunk a dagger of a three-pointer to give JU a 74-73 lead with just three seconds left. On the following play Coleman turned the ball over, and Fernandez hit two free throws after being fouled on the inbounds play to seal the win for JU.
The opening tip bounced to JU for just the ninth time this season, but NJIT was able to capitalize first on a driving layup from Tim Coleman. Marcel White answered with the first and second of his three first-half three-pointers to give JU a 6-2 lead. That lead swelled to as much as seven, 14-7, on two more threes from J.R. Holder and Misters. NJIT responded with a 9-4 run to take the lead 19-17, forcing three Dolphin turnovers over the next five minutes. However, foul trouble for the Highlanders allowed another Dolphin run; JU hit seven of eight free throw attempts in the final eight minutes to outscore the Highlanders 25-18 until the end of the period. At the half JU led 42-37.