MONDAY, JANUARY 19, 2009
Dolphins step out of conference play on Tuesday to host Savannah State
The JU men’s basketball team will step out of Atlantic Sun Conference play on Tuesday night as they wrap up the non-conference schedule by hosting Savannah State in Swisher Gymnasium at 7 p.m.

The Dolphins (8-8, 7-1 A-Sun) have won five in a row to get back to .500 for the first time this season. It is the third straight season that JU has dug an early hole, only to battle back to even the record.

“Our non-conference schedule was built to test our team and get them ready for this time of year when the games mean a little more,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We’re playing well, but the guys know that we still have a lot of things to improve on.”

JU is coming off a 13-point win at Campbell, a game in which the Dolphins saw an 18-point lead slip down to three only to score the final 10 points of the game to seal the victory.

One of the Dolphins that keyed the victory was sophomore forward Ayron Hardy. A native of Birmingham, Ala., Hardy leads the A-Sun in field goal percentage and is ranked 12th nationally, having hit 66.7 percent of his shots.

Hardy has scored in double figures in seven straight games and in eight of his last nine.

Another big boost has been the gang mentality on the boards. JU has owned the rebounding advantage in every game but one this year, putting up a season-best 26 rebound advantage against Campbell.

In fact, JU has won the battle on the boards by more than 10 in each of the last three games. The Dolphins leads the A-Sun in rebounding margin, holding an average of 8.1 rebounds more than their opponents per game.