JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With wins in three of its four home dates so far on the season, the Jacksonville University men’s basketball team looks to snap a two-game slide on Friday night at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena when the Dolphins (3-6) take on the Samford Bulldogs. The opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. with coverage on 92.5 FM provided by Scott Manze and Artis Gilmore. The game will also be streamed online on ASun.TV.
It will be another trip down memory lane for many Jacksonville fans as the Dolphins face their third consecutive foe – and fourth overall in non-conference play – that was a past member of the Atlantic Sun. After road drops to Gardner-Webb, FAU and UCF earlier this season, Jacksonville will try to extend its 9-7 lead in the overall series with Samford and win its third straight over the Bulldogs dating back to the 2010-11 season.
After 10 days off between games, the rust was evident for Jacksonville on Tuesday night in a 104-64 loss to UCF. The Knights knocked down 13 3-pointers in the contest and shot .603 from the floor to run away with the victory. Four Dolphin freshmen provided a bit of a bright spot as J.R. Holder, Sam Hunt, Josh Murray and Marcel White combined to score 40 of the team’s points. Those four combined to shoot 17-of-32 (.532) from the field, but the rest of the team managed only 10-of-31 (.323).
Returning on Tuesday after missing a pair of contests, senior Javon Dawson had season highs of nine points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes of action. Vince Martin had a poor shooting night by his standards, but did manage his second game of the year with five rebounds, five assists and five steals. The grad student leads the Atlantic Sun in steals per game (2.0), is third in assists (4.8) and sits second in assist/turnover ratio (2.4:1).
Samford comes into Friday night with a record of 4-8. The Bulldogs have won three of their last five, but two of those games have come against non-Division I opponents. In two games against A-Sun competition, Samford was defeated by East Tennessee State, 89-75, and most recently by Florida Gulf Coast, 83-51. Tim Williams missed the FGCU game with a hip injury, but is probable to play against the Dolphins. The sophomore forward leads Samford with 15.4 points per game as well as 7.1 boards. Isaiah Williams is both a scorer and distributor for the team at 12.3 ppg and 3.3 assists per game. Connor Miller provides the Bulldogs with a deep threat, knocking down a team-high 19-of-44 (.432) from behind the arc.
Jacksonville closes out the non-conference portion of its schedule on Dec. 23 with a 7 p.m. meeting against the South Carolina State Bulldogs at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The Dolphins will begin Atlantic Sun play a week later on Dec. 30 at Swisher Gym when the Mercer Bears come to town.