SATURDAY, JANUARY 17, 2009
Men's hoops takes out Campbell, 76-63
Championship teams find a way to win close games on the road.

The JU men’s basketball team is starting to take the form of a championship-caliber team after holding off a late rally to top Campbell at Gore Arena, 76-63, in Atlantic Sun Conference play Saturday.

The Dolphins (8-8, 7-1 A-Sun) won their fifth straight and maintained their share of first place in the A-Sun standing while getting back to .500 for the first time this season.

Ben Smith led four Dolphins in double figures with 20 points. Marcus Allen picked up his double-double of the season with 10 points, 15 rebounds to go along with a season-best five blocks.

“We talk a lot about playing maturely late in games and we handled the situation well today,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “Campbell is a good team and when they made a run late, we found a way to get some stops and make the plays that you have to win a game on the road.”

Since dropping a two-point decision to ETSU, the Dolphins have won three straight road games to maintain their place atop the standings. During the five-game winning streak, JU has won all by double digits.

The Dolphins dominated the boards, holding a 49-23 edge on the glass. JU had five players finish with at least five rebounds.

Jacksonville also got to the free throw line, hitting 23-of-32 from the stripe, going 17-of-20 in the second half.

“We emphasize attacking the basket and when you do, good things happen,” Warren said. “We did a great job of getting to the free throw line and hitting our free throws in the second half.”

Joining Allen and Smith in double figures for JU was Ayron Hardy and Lehmon Colbert with 11 apiece.

Sporting an 18-point lead with 12 minutes to go, JU saw the Camels (6-10, 3-4 A-Sun) slowly cut into the deficit – eventually getting the lead down to three, 66-63, with 2:48 left in the game.

From there, JU scored the final 10 points as Campbell missed its final three shots to go with a turnover.

JU never trailed in the contest, using a 17-4 run midway through the first half to turn a tie game into a 13-point lead and took a 40-26 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Campbell got a game-high 25 points from Jonathan Rodriguez with Jamir Bailey adding 11 off the bench.

The Dolphins return to the hardwood on Tuesday as they host Savannah State in Swisher Gymnasium. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.