Second half rally leads JU past Upstate, 65-52
After another anemic first half, the JU men’s basketball team awoke in second half to win its seventh straight with a 65-52 victory over USC Upstate on Saturday in Swisher Gymnasium.

The Dolphins (10-8, 7-3 A-Sun) had their worst shooting half of the season in the first half to fall behind by seven. JU opened the second half by scoring the first nine points of the second half and never looked back to win going away.

Ben Smith scored a game-high 15 points, all coming in the second half, after a 0-for-6 start to the game. Ayron Hardy added 13 points, with two key 3-pointers, while Lehmon Colbert had 10 points.

For Smith, it was his 14th straight game in double figures – breaking his own personal record streak of 13. He finished the game with seven assists and three steals, the third time in the last four games he has dished out at least six assists.

“We played much better on defense in the second half and that led to some good looks in transition,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We did not play well in the first half, but we made some corrections at halftime and executed better in the second half.”

Tevin Galvin just missed his first career double-double, racking up nine points and pulling down a career-high 11 rebounds.

Trailing 29-22 at halftime, JU scored the first nine points of the second half to take its first lead of the game. Hardy hit a 3-pointer to get the momentum going and Travis Cohn capped the spurt with a breakaway dunk to give the Dolphins the lead.

After the Spartans (3-16, 3-7 A-Sun) tied the game at 31, JU scored the next nine of the next 11 points, with Galvin scoring the final five for JU to take a 40-33 lead with 12:17 left in the game.

The Spartans cut the deficit to three with 10:20 left in regulation, but JU scored the next seven points in less than 90 seconds – with Russell Powell hitting two free throws to cap the run and give the Dolphins a 47-37 lead.

Upstate cut the deficit to five with 7:08 left on a Caleb Parkert layup, but would get no closer as the Dolphins pushed the lead to 13 and the final margin.

The Spartans got 15 points from Pat Posey and 12 points from Nick Schneiders.

Upstate looked to have control of the game after hitting 10-of-17 from the floor in the first half while holding JU to just 7-of-29 to take a 29-22 lead into the locker room at halftime.

JU has a quick turnaround as they wrap up the non-conference schedule on Monday at Savannah State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.