JU ends 2008 with a bang, besting Troy 86-73
Ben Smith
Ben Smith
JU head coach Cliff Warren has been looking for a complete 40 minute game from his basketball team this season.

On Monday night, the Dolphins (3-7) put together their best outing of the season en route to an 86-73 win over former Atlantic Sun Conference rival Troy (5-8) at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Ben Smith led a season-high four Dolphins in double figures with 19 points, six assists and four steals. Joining Smith in the Dolphin charge was Marcus Allen, who picked up his first double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

The win snapped JU’s seven-game losing streak in non-conference play as the Dolphins resume league play on Saturday.

“I was extremely pleased with our effort tonight,” Warren said. “We did a good job in the second half of turning the pressure up on defense and getting out on their shooters. Offensively, we made shots and took advantage of the opportunities we created on defense.”

Joining the scoring barrage was Ayron Hardy with 16 points, three assists, two blocks and two steals after missing the last game with a leg injury. Aric Brooks added 10 points off the bench.

JU put up 29 points off 20 Troy turnovers, getting 50 of their 86 points in the paint. In the most team-oriented effort thus far, the Dolphins had 27 assists for the 34 baskets – with Lehmon Colbert joining Smith with six assists and Travis Cohn dishing out five.

With a four-point lead at halftime, the Dolphins used an 11-2 run midway through the second half to take a 66-52 lead with Hardy capping the run with a 3-pointer. Smith was the catalyst for the spurt, scoring the first eight points.

The Trojans cut the deficit to 10 at one point, but were never able to get back in the game as JU pushed the lead to as many as 17 in the second half.

Michael Vogler’s 16 points led three Trojans in double figures, with Mario Telfair scoring 15 and Richard Delk adding 14.

The Dolphins used their best first half offensive effort to take a 41-37 lead into the locker room at halftime. JU hit four 3-pointers and Ayron Hardy had nine points to lead the Dolphins.

Smith’s 19 points was due to some hot shooting behind the arc, connecting on 5-of-7 from downtown. As a team, JU hit 8-of-18 from 3-point land and held the normally solid-shooting Trojans to just 8-of-25.

JU returns to the hardwood on Saturday as they travel to resume Atlantic Sun Conference play at East Tennessee State in a battle for first place. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.

NOTES: Marcus Allen’s 18 points moved him into 19th place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,097 points, passing Micah Ross and Curtis Taylor. Ben Smith scored in double figures for the ninth straight game. The Dolphins snapped a seven-game losing streak in non-conference play.