Late run lifts JU to fifth straight win, topping Belmont 82-66
Lehmon Colbert recorded the first double-double by a Dolphin this season and led a 23-5 run over the final six minutes to lift the JU men’s basketball team to an 82-66 win over Belmont on Saturday at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Colbert tied his season high with 19 points and pulled down a season-high 10 rebounds, one of three Dolphins to score in double figures as JU (8-8, 5-3 A-Sun) won for the fifth straight time.

Setting the tone for the Dolphins was defense. JU held Belmont (9-9, 4-4 A-Sun) to less than 40 percent shooting from the floor and 7-of-21 from behind the arc. Jacksonville blocked a season-best nine shots, with three by Glenn Powell.

“Our defense really stepped up in the second half as we did a good job of contesting their 3-point shots,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We did a good job of limiting them to one shot and getting the ball up the floor in transition.”

With the game tied at halftime, JU controlled the opening 10 minutes and eventually built an 8-point lead on an Ayron Hardy 3-pointer with 11:16 left in regulation.

The Bruins battled back with a 12-2 run to take a 61-59 lead, with Trevor Noack’s putback giving Belmont its first lead of the second half.

The Dolphins defense turned up the pressure and the offense went to work. Travis Cohn opened the run with a putback of his own miss to start a string of seven unanswered to take a 66-61 lead, capped by back-to-back baskets by Colbert in the lane.

That spurt got the Dolphins jumpstarted and they never looked back. Belmont cut the deficit to four, 68-64, but JU came right back with a 14-2 run over the final three minutes to seal the win, hitting 7-of-8 at the free throw line.

JU crashed the boards, holding a 41-34 edge on the glass with 19 second chance points. The Dolphins also racked up 42 points in the paint while holding Belmont to just 28.

The first half saw JU hit 14-of-27 in the floor to head into halftime tied at 35, overcoming a six-point lead in the final seven minutes.

Ben Smith saw his streak of 20-plus scoring games come to an end at eight as he finished with 17 points and four assists. Travis Cohn added 10 points and six rebounds.

Hardy had another solid all-around game for JU, scoring seven points, pulling down three rebounds, dishing out one assist, blocking one shot and picking up four steals.

After starting the season 1-7, the Dolphins have won seven of their last eight to get back to .500. The win gives the team the JU record for worst start to a season before getting back to .500, surpassing last season’s 2-7 start.

Belmont got a team-high 16 points and six rebounds from Mick Hedgepath, with 12 points from Ian Clark.

The Dolphins turn their focus now to Monday night’s game against UNF in the SunTrust River City Rumble. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m., with the game being televised on Comcast Sports Southeast.