Second half rally leads JU past Kennesaw State, 75-67
Trailing by six at the half, the JU men’s basketball team needed a new look in the second half.

Using a stingy defense that shut down the Owls, the Dolphins (16-10, 12-5 A-Sun) rallied from a nine-point deficit to maintain a share of first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 75-67 win over Kennesaw State (12-16, 7-10 A-Sun) at the KSU Convocation Center.

Lehmon Colbert scored a team-high 18 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, putting up 11 points in the second half.

It is the fourth second half comeback for JU and the second straight, after rallying from a halftime deficit against Stetson on Saturday.

“We didn’t get off to a good start in the first half and let them get some confidence,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We stressed getting stops at halftime and did a good job of execution.”

Colbert led a trio of Dolphins in double figures, with Ben Smith scoring 16 points to go along with four assists. Ayron Hardy had 12 points and four assists as well.

With a six-point halftime lead, KSU pushed the lead to nine in the opening minutes as Matt Heramb hit a 3-pointer to push the lead.

Trailing 40-31, JU went on a 20-6 run, with Travis Cohn starting the run with a 3-pointer and Colbert capping it with a slam dunk to give the Dolphins a 51-46 lead with 13:27 left in the game.

KSU came back by scoring the next eight points, with Kurtis Woods hitting two of three free throws to put the Owls up by three, 54-51, with 11:02 left in regulation.

From there, it was all JU. The Dolphins scored the next seven points, with Russell Powell hitting a 3-pointer to put Jacksonville up 58-54.

KSU tied the game at 58 and from there JU went on another 7-0 spurt to give the Dolphins the lead for good. Colbert made a tip in to finish off the run that started with a jumper in the lane by Will Alston and aided by a huge 3-point play by Smith.

KSU got the lead down to five, but would never get any closer as JU picked up its third straight win. The Owls finished the game by hitting just two of their final 13 shots.

Kennesaw State got a game-high 24 points from Markeith Cummings, with 17 coming in the first half, to go with 12 rebounds. Spencer Dixon had 13 points with Woods adding 11.

The first half was an offensive display as Kennesaw State hit 40 percent from the floor, including five 3-pointers, to take a 35-29 lead at halftime.

With the win, JU clinched its fourth straight winning season – the second longest streak in the history of the program.

The Dolphins return to the court on Saturday as they face Mercer on the floor where the A-Sun Tournament will be held in two weeks. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.