Dolphins knock off A-Sun leading Lipscomb, 79-73
Ben Smith put up his eighth straight 20-point scoring effort and Ayron Hardy added a career-high 20 as the JU men’s basketball team knocked off Lipscomb, the Atlantic Sun Conference leaders, 79-73, at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Smith scored 12 of his team-leading 22 in the second half while Hardy had 11, hitting three huge 3-pointers down the stretch to lift the Dolphins (7-8, 4-3 A-Sun) to their fourth straight win and sixth in the last seven games.

The duo helped JU survive as 3-point barrage from the Bisons (8-8, 5-2 A-Sun), who hit 10-of-25 from behind the arc – with Jordan Burgason hitting 7-of-9 for 21 points.

“We are very fortunate to win the game,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We had a tremendous effort tonight, but we made some mistakes in the second half and didn’t do as good job of contesting 3-pointers which allowed them to get back into the game.”

Trailing by 11 at the half, Lipscomb came out on an 11-4 run – with Burgason hitting three of four from behind the arc to spark the run to cut the JU lead to 39-35 just over two minutes into the final stanza.

Burgason hit another three a few moments later and Josh Slater tied the game at 41 with 14:42 left by making one of two from the free throw line.

JU then scored back-to-back baskets to push the lead back to four and made it swell to 10 with just over seven minutes to go as Hardy hit two treys and Smith connected on another.

The Bisons had one more run in them, cutting the lead to three, 69-66, on a Slater trey with 4:05 left in the game. JU came right back with five straight points to kill any hopes of a rally, with Hardy hitting his third trey of the half.

Lehmon Colbert added 13 points for JU, giving the Dolphins three scorers in double figures. Hardy led JU with seven rebounds and five assists. Smith dished out six assists, the fifth time in the last six games he has handed out five assists or more.

Burgason’s barrage was complemented by 24 points and nine rebounds from preseason A-Sun all-conference selection Adnan Hodzic.

JU used a 19-5 run midway through the first half to take a 16-point lead at one point before Lipscomb closed the half with a 3-pointer by Brian Wright to cut the Dolphins lead at halftime to 11, 35-24.

The Dolphins are back in action on Saturday as they host perennial A-Sun power Belmont in a doubleheader. The women tip off at 1 p.m., with the men following at 3:15 p.m.