THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2010
Men's hoops tops Campbell to clinch at least a share of the A-Sun title
The JU men’s basketball team clinched at least a share of its second straight Atlantic Sun Conference title with a second half comeback, beating Campbell, 65-52, in front of 6,543 fans on MPS Group night at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

JU (18-10, 14-5 A-Sun) had four players score in double figures, led by the backcourt duo of Travis Cohn and Ben Smith – who each had 15 points apiece.

The win allows Jacksonville to control its own destiny in the conference title race, needing a win over ETSU to clinch its second straight outright title, the No. 1 seed in next week’s Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament and a second straight bid to the postseason.

“We showed a lot of poise tonight,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “The guys talked in the locker room at halftime before I went in there and made corrections. We came out and play a solid second half.

“This is just one step though. We’ve got another important game on Saturday. We’ve got to come out ready to play.”

After making a run at the end of the first half to cut the lead to three, the Dolphins took their first lead of the second half on a Smith jumper less than five minutes into the second half.

Campbell (18-10, 13-6 A-Sun) tied the game at 36 on a Junard Hartley layup, the Dolphins came back with a vengeance, going on a 16-2 run over the next six minutes – with Chris Edwards’ 3-pointer capping the run that gave JU a 52-38 lead with 7:48 left in the game.

The Camels cut the deficit to eight with 4:40 left, but JU made sure that no comeback was necessary as Cohn slammed home a 360-degree dunk to seal the win.

Cohn connected on 3-of-5 from behind the arc to spark JU’s outside shooting. Ayron Hardy and Lehmon Colbert each added 10 points, with Smith leading the team in rebounds with six.

Defense was the key to JU’s victory. After watching Campbell torch the Dolphins in the first half, hitting 11-of-19 from the floor, the Camels were just 8-of-20 in the second half and did not attempt a 3-pointer.

Campbell came flying out of the gates, hitting seven of its first eight shots en route to building a 28-17 lead. JU answered the bell in the last five minutes of the first half, going on a 10-2 run, with a Hardy dunk on a missed shot by Smith cut the lead to just three at halftime, 30-27.

The Camels got a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds from Jonathan Rodriguez. Miles Taylor added 14 and Lorne Merthie had 12.

JU hosts ETSU on Saturday when they will honor the team’s three seniors – Colbert, Smith and Szymon Lukasiak as they need a win to clinch the outright title. Tipoff is schedule for 2:15 p.m. at the Arena.