SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2008
JU ends 2008 with home game against Troy
Non-conference play has not been kind to the JU men’s basketball team this season.

The Dolphins (2-7) will wrap up the major chunk of their non-conference schedule on Monday night as they host former Atlantic Sun Conference rival Troy (5-7) at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Jacksonville has dropped all seven of its non-conference outings this season, the latest setback being a 66-64 overtime loss to Bethune-Cookman a week ago.

“Since we’ve returned from Christmas, our guys have been practicing hard and focused on their preparation,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We need everyone on our team to give their best effort all the time – whether it’s on the floor playing or on the bench so that they are ready when their number is called.”

The Dolphins had their worst-shooting night of the season against BCU, hitting just 19-of-59 from the floor (32.2 percent).

What kept JU in the game was the free throw line. The Dolphins hit 20-of-29 from the charity stripe – including Ben Smith’s three free throws with 7.7 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Smith scored 19 points against the Wildcats, extending his streak of consecutive games in double figures to eight. It is the second longest double-digit scoring streak of his career.

Coupled with that high scoring output was six steals, which is tied for sixth on the school’s single-game list, boosting him into the top 10 on the all-time list as well.

While Smith has fared well, the Dolphins are looking for a consistent second scorer. Smith leads the team with an average of 17.7 points per game and is the only Dolphin in double figures.

Lehmon Colbert has been warming up of late, scoring in double figures the last three games and leading the team in rebounds the last two.

The Trojans come in after an 101-92 win over UNC-Wilmington a week ago when they hit 12-of-23 from behind the arc.

An up-tempo run-and-gun type team, Troy won the last meeting between the two schools a year ago at home, 98-80.