MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2008
Dolphins shake off rust from finals with test at Ohio State
Travis Cohn
Travis Cohn
With the fall semester exams in the rearview mirror, the JU men’s basketball team gets to focus on another big test.

The Dolphins (2-5) return from their study sabbatical to face No. 21 Ohio State on the road on Wednesday night. The game will be televised on ESPNU, with tipoff set for 9 p.m. (EST).

JU is coming off an impressive two-game sweep of Belmont and Lipscomb to open Atlantic Sun Conference play. The Dolphins started the sweep by rallying from a 19-point halftime deficit to topple three-time defending champion Belmont before running away from Lipscomb two days later.

“With finals over, our guys are able to focus on basketball for the next three weeks and improving as a team,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “Ohio State is an extremely good basketball team and we know that they are going to be ready to play on Wednesday.”

In their last time out, the Dolphins had their second-best shooting night of the season – hitting 67 percent of their shots in the second half en route to a 16-point win over Lipscomb. JU hit 51.6 percent of its shots in the game, with four players scoring in double figures.

Leading the way again was point guard Ben Smith, who scored 18 points, had five assists and three steals – hitting 7-of-9 from the floor. After being held to nine points in the season opener against Florida State, Smith has scored in double figures in the last six games – averaging 20 points per game during the streak.

Aiding Smith was a scoring resurgence from Lehmon Colbert, who scored 11 points for his first double-digit effort since the season opener.

Another bright spot was the improved play of Travis Cohn, who racked up a career-high 14 points against Lipscomb. The sophomore hit 7-of-10 shots from the floor while dishing out three assists.

Wednesday’s game marks the second time this season JU has faced a top 25 opponent, the first being then-No. 19 Georgetown. The Dolphins have lost their last eight games against top 25 teams, a streak that dates back to 1994.

The game will be broadcast locally on 1010XL, with Barry Milligan calling the play-by-play.