SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2009
JU set to open 2009-10 season at Florida State
The JU men’s basketball team will open its 2009-10 season on Monday as they travel to face Florida State.

It is the second straight season the Dolphins have opened the season against the Seminoles and JU looks to build off of last season’s two-point loss at home. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., with the game being broadcast on Sun Sports.

Fans can also tune into the JU Sports Network broadcast on 1010XL, with Barry Milligan and JU legend Artis Gilmore calling the action. There will also be an in-game blog with JUDolphins.com editor Joel Lamp taking your questions and providing analysis throughout the game.

Jacksonville returns four starters from last year’s team that won the Atlantic Sun Conference title and advanced to the postseason for the first time in 22 years with a trip to the NIT.

“We’re excited to get the season started,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We’ve had a couple of scrimmages that prepared us for game day, but we know that Florida State is an extremely talented team that is well coached.”

For senior point guard Ben Smith, the game is chance to join some elite company. With five assists, he will be one of six active players in the country with 1,000 points, 400 assists and 150 steals in their careers.

The assists total is part of Smith’s chase for spot atop the JU record books. He needs 113 assists to become the all-time leader and is 45 steals away from taking that school record as well. Smith is also in the mix for the school’s all-time free throws made record, set by Ralph Tiner in 1965. Entering his final season, he needs 143 more to pass Tiner’s total of 554.

While Smith is one of the Dolphin stalwarts, the big question spot facing Warren and the coaching staff entering Monday’s game is who will take Marcus Allen’s place in the lineup. Among those up for the job are junior Szymon Lukasiak, sophomore Will Alston and freshman Glenn Powell.

“I’m not concerned as much with who starts as who is on the floor the last four to five minutes,” Warren said. “All three are going to play and whoever is playing the best will be on the floor late in the game.”