Slow first half dooms JU in loss to American
The first half has not been kind to the JU men’s basketball team in the first three games of the 2008-09 season.

The Dolphins (0-3) hit less than 35 percent in the first half and could not dig out an 11-point halftime deficit, falling to American (3-1), 75-67, on Saturday night at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Ben Smith led two Dolphins in double figures with 18 points despite going 3-of-12 from the floor, off setting that by making 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Aric Brooks added 11 points off the bench for JU.

“We didn’t get off to a good start and you can’t do that against a very good team like this,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren.

The Dolphins turned up the heat shooting in the second half, hitting 13-of-27 from the floor, including 3-of-7 from behind the arc.

That wasn’t enough to overcome an 11-point deficit as American hit 15-of-21 from the floor in the second half, including 5-of-7 from 3-point land. JU has trailed by double digits at the intermission in all three games, but has out scored its opponents in the second half in all three outings as well.

Garrison Carr led three Eagles with a game-high 24 points, going 6-of-9 from behind the arc. Brian Gilmore added 18 and Derrick Mercer had 10.

Jacksonville never led in the game, falling behind 10-1 and failed to score a field goal for the first eight minutes of the game.

JU got as close as seven midway through the second half, but couldn’t get any closer.

The Dolphins return to the hardwood on Monday night as they face their third straight NCAA Tournament participant from last year, going on the road to face Baylor. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (EST).