BOX SCORE (PDF)
NEWARK, N.J. – The Jacksonville University men's basketball team (8-12, 1-4 ASUN) faced adversity on Saturday night at NJIT (14-5, 2-2 ASUN), not unlike anything they hadn't faced a few times already this season; the difference was the response and the history it nearly produced.
The Dolphins were up against a 16-point deficit at halftime and a 20-point deficit with 10:20 left to play in the game. A lesser team would have, accepted the inevitable and lived on to play another day. Not the Dolphins, not tonight. Led by Tyreese Davis, who scored all of his team-leading 20 points in the second half, the guys in green battled back to within three and had chances to tie the game down the stretch. On this night, completion of the comeback wasn't meant to be as NJIT came away with the 77-74 victory, but surely the seed has been planted in this team that continues to improve with every passing contest.
Jace Hogan and Jalyn Hinton joined Davis in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively, while JD Notae scored six and pulled town a team-high nine rebounds. It was truly a tale of two halves as JU managed just 21 points in the first half before erupting for 53 in the second to make this one interesting, at one point creating a 20-4 run to get back in the game.
The Dolphins shot just 27.6 percent in the first half and 54.3 percent in the second while forcing NJIT into nine turnovers during the comeback. It all started with a Hinton layup with 9:45 left that sparked a 12-0 Jacksonville run over the next two minutes to cut the score to 61-53. That run extended into an 18-2 stretch that saw this one go from a 20-point game to a two-possession game in just 4:33 of game time.
From there, the back and forth ensued as NJIT did everything it could to keep the Dolphins at bay. Hogan converted a bucket through contact with 1:54 to play and made the free throw to get this down to a one-possession game for the first time since the 7:13 mark in the first half. NJIT answered with a pair of free throws Hogan converted again on the other end to get it back to three.
NJIT then traded three balls with Davis and later with his team trailing by five, Hogan launched just his three three-point try of the season and canned it get it down to two with 13 seconds left. NJIT made one of two free throws on the other end, giving Jacksonville one last look at a tie but a running three by Aamahne Santos at the buzzer missed its mark. JU had to settle for its third loss in ASUN play decided by a one-possession deficit.
Next up for Jacksonville is a date with its biggest rival, North Florida in round one of the River City Rumble. That matchup will take place UNF Arena on Thursday night with tip set for 7 p.m. That game will serve as the first of three-straight for the Dolphins in the city of Jacksonville, with the next two coming at Swisher opposite Liberty (Jan. 27) and Stetson (Jan. 31).