Bell, Notae Lead Dolphins in Wild Shootout Against North Alabama

Bell, Notae Lead Dolphins in Wild Shootout Against North Alabama


– The Jacksonville University men's basketball team (8-11, 1-3 ASUN) faced 12 ties and a staggering 27 leads changes on Wednesday night opposite North Alabama (6-13, 3-1 ASUN) as both teams shot the lights out but in the end with UNA that came out on top, 91-88.

JD Notae scored a team high 25 points to go with eight assists and six rebounds while David Bell collected second double-double of the season (14 points, 13 rebounds) to pace the Jacksonville effort. Meanwhile, Jace Hogan pitched in 16 points, Tyreese Davis added nine points, three assists and three boards and Tanner Rubio canned a trio of long balls off the bench.

As a team, JU shot 54 percent for the game, 58.1 percent in the second half alone but it wasn't enough for the hot-shooting Lions who hoisted a 54 percent clip as well to go with an unusual 48 percent from long range (12-25), despite averaging just 29.4 percent from deep for the season. The 34 made field goals are the fourth-most JU has made this season and the 63 attempts are fifth-most.

Jacksonville jumped out to an eight-point advantage by the 11:25 mark in the first half, following a DeAnthony McCallum driving lay-in. At that point, the Dolphins had yet to trail in the game, but it was here that the Lions began to dig into the deficit and make this one a game the rest of the way. By the eight-minute mark, the lead had been erased and replaced with the game's first lead change and back-and-forth they went.

The Dolphins regained a five-point lead on a Hogan jumper at the 1:58 mark but the team went scoreless the rest of the half as UNA scored six-straight to take a one-point lead, 34-33, into the locker rooms. Both sides went into the break hovering around 50 percent shooting from the floor.

The lead changed three times by the first media timeout of the second half as neither side struggled offensively. North Alabama built its largest lead of six by the 14:49 mark with a dunk inside but that was quickly answered by back-to-back triples from Rubio in front of the Dolphin bench, sending the near-capacity crowd into a frenzy.

Basket trading ensued as neither side held more than a three-point advantage until the 2:16 mark when UNA canned a three ball that made it a four-point spread, 81-77. Notae scored inside in response then McCallum knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game with 1:03 to go. Most of the remaining time was spent at the free throw line as the two sides battled it out there.

Trailing by three, with 15 seconds left, Notae drove the length of the court and scored a quick pair to make it 88-87, UNA, with nine seconds to play. The Lions made just one of two free throws to give JU a window, down two. Notae again drove the length of the floor and drew contact in front of the Dolphin bench before hoisting a wild three that banked home. However, it was determined that the contact came before the shot, thus waving off the make and putting Notae on the line with two free throws to tie.

He made the first and missed the second forcing the Dolphins to foul quickly. UNA made both free throws to take a three-point lead with about two seconds to go. Hogan fed Notae with a long pass that led to a half-court heave that fell short. The Lions got away with the win.

Jacksonville will look to shake this one off with a trip to NJIT this weekend. After that the Dolphins will return to Jacksonville for three straight games in the River City. First, JU will head across town for the first meeting this season with North Florida (Jan. 24) before hosting Liberty (Jan. 27) and Stetson (Jan. 30).