TUESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2009
Late burst seals JU win over Savannah State, 69-56
For the JU men’s basketball team, Tuesday night’s game against Savannah State was all about survival.

The Dolphins (9-8) won their sixth straight as a 15-6 run over the last five minutes sealed a 69-56 win over the Tigers (9-10) at Swisher Gymnasium.

Ben Smith led three Dolphins in double figures with 17 points, to go along with four rebounds, six assists and four steals in 38 minutes of action.

“We stepped up to the challenge in the last five minutes,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be early in the game. We did a good job of getting stop on the defensive end late and taking better shots.”

The win put the Dolphins above .500 for the first time this season – the third straight campaign that JU has battled back from a slow start to get back on the winning side of the ledger.

JU’s high-scoring attack stalled against the Tigers, who forced JU into 17 turnovers and slowed the game’s pace. In a physical game, the Dolphins went to the free throw line 27 times, hitting 22.

Joining Smith in double figures was Lehmon Colbert with 15 points and Travis Cohn with 11.

Sporting a 31-30 lead at halftime, the Dolphins fell behind in the opening minute before starting a 9-0 run, with Colbert capping the run by hitting 3-of-4 at the free throw line to take a 42-34 lead with 14:51 remaining.

The Tigers clawed back into the game, cutting the deficit to a 44-43 just three minutes later.

The two teams went back and forth over the next four minutes before JU’s big run to put the game out of reach.

Rashad Hassan scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Tigers.

The Dolphins return to the court in Atlantic Sun Conference play on Friday night at Stetson. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.