NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two teams badly needing to grab a confidence-boosting win in conference play. Two teams who have struggled defensively early on in the season. Something has to give as the Jacksonville University men’s basketball team (5-9, 1-2 Atlantic Sun) travels to face the Lipscomb Bisons (5-9, 0-3 A-Sun) on Monday at 6 p.m (EST). Scott Manze will have the call of the action on 92.5 FM, with ESPN3 providing the streaming coverage of the game.
For much of Saturday night’s game at Northern Kentucky, Jacksonville did exactly what it needed to do to come away with the win. Though Jordan Jackson was a force in getting to the rim and scoring 28 points, the Dolphins limited the chances from other players on the court and led by as many as eight points with less than eight minutes remaining. That’s when an ill-timed scoring drought allowed the Norse to come back. Up by one with less than a minute remaining, NKU’s Todd Johnson hoisted up a 3-point prayer from well behind the arc with time winding down on the shot clock. It splashed through to put Northern Kentucky up by four and all but sealed the victory.
Jarvis Haywood – who scored a career-high 26 points in the game at Lipscomb last season – had 19 points to lead the Dolphins in scoring for the seventh time this season. Keith McDougald scored 18 points – a season high for the senior guard. RJ Slawson became the second JU player this season with at least five blocks in a game, swatting away five NKU efforts on the night. Javon Dawson had 10 rebounds, his fourth double-digit rebounding effort in the last six contests.
Lipscomb comes into the game having lost five of its last six, including all three games within the A-Sun thus far. On Saturday, the Bisons and North Florida traded blows in the first half, which ended with Lipscomb down by one, 38-37. UNF extended the lead to as many as 11 with less than three minutes remaining, but the Bisons cut the lead to one at 71-70 in the closing moments before the Ospreys pulled out a 78-73 win.
Twin brother Martin and Malcolm Smith are offensive forces for the Bisons. Martin leads the team and is second in the conference at 17.7 points per game. Malcolm averages 13.1 points per game and leads the team with 5.6 rebounds per contest. Lipscomb tops the Atlantic Sun with 8.3 made 3-pointers per game and has four players shooting at least 34 percent from long range.
Jacksonville will close out the opening gauntlet of Atlantic Sun play by hosting Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The Dolphins will tip off with the Hatters on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m., and then face the Eagles on Jan. 11 at 3:15 p.m. as part of a doubleheader with the women’s basketball team.