First place Dolphins take winning streak to the SunTrust River City Rumble
The JU men’s basketball team will put its share of first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference on the line Friday night in the second edition of the SunTrust River City Rumble at UNF Arena.

The Dolphins (11-8, 7-3 A-Sun) are riding an eight-game winning streak into the game that will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Southeast at 7 p.m. The game will also be broadcast on 1010XL, with Barry Milligan and Artis Gilmore calling the action.

JU is coming off a hard-fought 72-68 win at Savannah State, surviving a furious rally by the Tigers in the final minutes. Ben Smith led JU with a season-high tying 31 points, connecting on 10-of-14 from the floor.

“While we are winning, there are still a lot of areas in which we need to improve,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “Any time you go on the road, it’s tough to win and your team has to rally around each other. We were fortunate to do that Monday night and we’ll need to do that again on Friday.”

After a 0-3 start in league play, the Dolphins sat in last place looking up at the other 10 teams in the A-Sun. Since then, JU has won its last eight, including seven straight conference games to shoot back up the standings and back into the title race.

Making a major contribution to the Dolphins winning streak has been their tenacity on the glass.

JU has owned the rebounding edge in the last nine games and has put up at least 10 second chance points in the last five games. That rebounding edge is aided by a team mentality to attack the glass on both ends as five Dolphins are averaging at last four rebounds per game during the streak, led by Lehmon Colbert’s 7.8 per game.

Colbert’s power inside has been the perfect complement to Ben Smith on the perimeter. Since serving a one-game suspension against Stetson, Colbert has scored in double figures in five straight games with two double-doubles. Smith meanwhile is on a 15-game streak of scoring in double figures, putting up 20 points or more nine times during the streak.

The eight-game winning streak is tied for the eighth longest in school history and is the second longest in the Cliff Warren era.