WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Jacksonville University men’s basketball team (1-2) concludes its brief road trip to the state of North Carolina on Monday night, taking on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-0) at 7 p.m. The game will be available to a nationwide audience on ESPN3, while Scott Manze will have the call on 92.5 FM.
Playing its second road game of the season on Saturday night, Jacksonville was hot right from the opening tip against Gardner-Webb and opened up its largest lead of the night at 9-4 within the first two minutes. The Runnin’ Bulldogs responded however, keeping the Dolphins without a made field goal for over 10 minutes of the first half. Though JU was able to keep the game close from the line and go into halftime down only five, Naji Hibbert caught fire in the second half for the home side, helping Gardner-Webb open up a lead that would reach as much as 12 points. With Jacksonville forced to foul, the Runnin’ Bulldogs hit enough free throws down the stretch to stay out in front and hold on for an 87-78 victory.
RJ Slawson set a career high with 19 points in the game, hitting 6-of-10 field goals and 6-of-8 free throws. Jarvis Haywood was right behind him with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Vince Martin had 11 points and Keith McDougald scored 10, remaining the two Dolphins on the roster to reach double-figures in all three games this season.
Tyler Alderman also continued to show his growth early in his sophomore season. The JU big man went 4-for-4 at the free throw line and scored eight points, grabbed three rebounds and tied a career high with four blocks in 23 minutes of action. The Dolphins blocked nine shots in the game; the most for the team in a single game since Jan. 16, 2010 against Belmont.
Wake Forest enters Monday night’s matchup coming off season-opening victories over Colgate, VMI and Presbyterian. Sophomore guard Codi Miller-McIntyre is one of two main scoring options for the Demon Deacons, having scored more than 20 points in each of the first three games of the season and averaging 21.3 points per game. Though he’s only shot 3-of-12 from downtown to start the season, he has gone 18-of-28 from inside the arc and connected on 19-of-25 free throws.
The other major threat posed by the Deacs comes from sophomore forward Devin Thomas. Thomas has double-doubles in two games and is averaging 17.7 points and 11.3 boards. He doesn’t pose much of a threat away from the basket, but his size and strength down low have allowed him to hit on .710 of his field goal attempts this season.
The Dolphins return to Jacksonville and will host three straight at home beginning on Nov. 23 with a matchup against Florida A&M. On Nov. 25, JU battles Florida at 7 p.m. Tickets to all of Jacksonville’s games at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena are available for purchase through Ticketmaster.