Dolphins fall in final seconds at ETSU, 84-82

JU’s Travis Cohn had a 3-point attempt from the top of the key at the buzzer come up short as the Bucs held on for the win.

Smith’s heroics were aided by Courtney Pigram’s game-high 39 points with 23 coming in the second half. Pigram hit 14-of-22 from the floor and 5-of-7 from behind the arc to go along with 6-of-6 from the free throw line.

The Bucs (9-4, 3-0 A-Sun) also used a steady procession to the free throw line, hitting 20-of-30 from the stripe. The Dolphins (3-8, 2-1 A-Sun) went just 10 times and hit only six.

“We played well tonight, but we couldn’t get a stop on that final play,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We got the ball out of Pigram’s hand on the final play and Smith stepped up to make the shot.”

JU had six players score in double figures with five players combining to hit a season-high 12 3-pointers. Evan Jefferson led the way with four in the first half, tying his career high en route to 14 points.

Lehmon Colbert led the Dolphins with 15 points and Marcus Allen got 10 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.

The late heroics cast a pall on a game that JU hit better than 50 percent from the field.

Trailing by five with two minutes left, the Dolphins cut the deficit to three on a layup by Marcus Allen with 1:17 left in the game.

After Adam Sollazo made 1-of-2 at the free throw line, Ben Smith knocked down a pair of free throw to cut the deficit to two with 49 seconds remaining.

Mike Smith missed a pair of free throws and Colbert stepped up to hit two free throws to tie the game with 31 seconds left in regulation.

Once Pigram got the ball across midcourt, the Dolphins sent a second defender at him – forcing him to pass the ball. Pigram’s pass to Kevin Tiggs was quickly sent over to Smith who drove to the basket and threw the shot off the window, that went in.

Tiggs, the leading scorer in the A-Sun entering the game, was held to 13 points with Smith adding 11 for the Bucs.

Sporting a four-point lead at halftime, the Dolphins saw that fade away in the first four minutes as Pigram scored five points during the run as the Bucs took a 49-48 lead.

Ayron Hardy had 14 points for JU, with Ben Smith adding 13 points and eight assists. Travis Cohn added 11 as the starting five all scored in double figures.

The Dolphins have a quick turnaround as they face USC Upstate on Monday at 7 p.m.