JU eliminates UNF with 76-69 win
The JU men’s basketball team avoided the upset bug that was sweeping the University Center on Wednesday night, taking out UNF in the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Tournament quarterfinals, 76-69.

Ben Smith and Lehmon Colbert each had 24 points to lead the Dolphins (19-11) into the A-Sun semifinals for the third year in a row.

UNF (13-18) stayed in the game by hitting 12 3-pointers, with Eni Cuka scoring 24 points with five 3-pointers.

“This was a good win,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but we’ll work on that as we prepare for the next game.”

The Dolphins led by as many as 19 in the second half before UNF rallied to cut the lead to four with 20 seconds left. Smith iced the game with a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left as JU scored its final 15 points at the free throw line.

In a series that featured two defensive battles in the regular season, the two teams combined for 19 3-pointers, with JU hitting more than twice as many (7) treys as they did in the first two games combined (3).

Smith was 4-of-12 from the floor, but 14-of-18 at the free throw line. Colbert was 9-of-16 from the floor, hitting two 3-pointers, to go along with his game-high nine rebounds.

The Dolphins took a six-point lead into the second half and pushed it to 19 in the first 10 minutes. A driving layup by Travis Cohn put JU up 56-37, completing a 15-4 run.

UNF slowly got back into the game, cutting the deficit to six with 2:41 left on a Germaine Sparkes 3-pointer – one of his three in game as he scored 11 points.

Jacksonville took advantage of some strong shooting from outside in the first half, hitting 5-of-10 from behind the arc, to take a 34-28 lead into halftime. The Dolphins scored the last four points in the half to take momentum into the locker room.

Cohn was the third Dolphin in double figures with 14 points, connecting on two 3-pointers.

The Dolphins will now face the winner of the No. 3 Belmont-No.6 Mercer matchup on Friday night at 9 p.m. That game will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Southeast.