JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Making his first appearance in a Jacksonville University uniform, Jace Hogan scored 24 points and snagged 11 boards in 37 minutes Friday night. The junior transfer from the United States Naval Academy also had two assists, two blocks, and a steal. But it wasn't enough as the Dolphins fell to NC A&T 90-82 in Swisher Gym.
"We need to do a better job of playing a full 40 minutes," said redshirt senior Devin Harris, who had 12 points and seven rebounds on the night. "That's what [head coach Tony] Jasick is always preaching to us. We played flat to start the game, then came out of halftime well but ended the game flat again."
NC A&T opened overtime with a quick basket on its end, which JD Notae matched on the opposite end about a minute later, tying the game for the final time, 80-80, with 3:54 left. The Aggies responded with a three, then took a five-point lead, 85-80, on a dunk with the clock reading 2:55. Just one free throw was converted between JU and NC A&T over the next 1:30, but a block of a JU three-point attempt led to a transition layup on the other end, putting the score at 88-80 NC A&T with just 43 seconds left. Devin Harris battled through the lane to pull JU back within six, 88-82, with 37 seconds remaining, but A&T closed out the game with free throws, winning 90-82.
Jacksonville came out swinging to start the second half, putting on a defensive showcase as the Dolphins outscored the Aggies 18-4 through the first seven minutes of the period. Devin Harris started the run with a transition dunk off an air-ball three attempt from NC A&T, and the redshirt senior scored another transition two just 20 seconds later, dancing around a 3-on-1 situation to kiss the ball off the backboard. Hogan joined in on the action, scoring three consecutive baskets. Tanner Rubio nailed a transition three to reach double digits for the third consecutive game, and the epitome of that run came on the next possession. Hogan hit one free throw after being fouled, then rebounded the second after a miss. On that rebound the junior forward was fouled again, and this time hit both free throws. JU led 55-48 with 13:06 left in the game.
But NC A&T wasn't done. The Aggies, after shooting 1-13 to open the half with three turnovers, started hitting shots, converting five of the next eight attempts, as well as 7-9 free throw attempts. With 3:47 left, JU held a 70-67 lead. A deep three by the Aggies on the next play tied the game at 70-70. Jacksonville jumped ahead again with a layup by Rubio and a jumper by Hogan, 74-70, with two minutes left. But clutch free throw shooting and a timely steal kept the Aggies in the game, tying the game at 76-76 with 42 seconds to go. A miss on the front end of a 1-and-1 led to a NC A&T fast break, giving the Aggies a 78-76 lead with 36 seconds, but a Hogan layup tied the game again, 78-78, sending the game to extras.
The tip went JU's way for the first time this year, and that led to an early advantage on a Rubio 3. The lead continued to grow; Sears kissed one off the glass on a beautiful dime from Rubio to make it 5-1 JU, and Notae then hit a pick-and-pop just a few seconds later that gave JU a 7-3 lead with about 18 minutes left. The teams traded baskets for several possessions, but then the Aggies' Femi Olujobi started feeling it. The junior transfer scored all but two points of a 20-8 run, which had NC A&T ahead 23-15 with just about 11 minutes left in the half. The next run belonged to Jacksonville; the Dolphins strung together a 13-4 scoring spree to take the lead, 28-27, with 6:26 left. That run was capped by a Hogan layup and-one.
But momentum swung back NC A&T's way on the next play. JU blocked two shots in a row, but both rebounds went to the Aggies, and on their third attempt the bucket was converted, giving NC A&T a 29-28 lead. Before Cody Helgeland nailed a buzzer-beating three to end the half, NC A&T had outscored JU 17-6 over the final six minutes.
- Hogan's double-double was the first for JU since Harris had 17 points and 11 rebounds at Florida A&M on Dec. 17 last season.