Late run lifts JU past Florida Gulf Coast, 75-65
Trailing by 11 with just over 15 minutes to go, the outlook was bleak for the JU men’s basketball team.

A trio of freshmen off the bench sparked a 13-0 run to give JU the lead and the Dolphins (11-8, 9-1 A-Sun) were able to hold on for their eighth straight win, topping Florida Gulf Coast at Alico Arena, 75-65.

Tevin Galvin led the charge off the bench, scoring all 10 of his points in the second half – including two clutch 3-pointers during the run to take the lead. For the game, JU’s three freshmen, Will Alston, Galvin and Chris Edwards, combined to score 21 points – all of which came in the second half.

“This was a total team effort tonight,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We did a really good job in the second half on the boards, with everyone making an effort on the glass. When we attacked the basket, we got some good looks, which we didn’t do in the first half.”

The win for JU sets up a showdown with first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference on the line at home against East Tennessee State on Friday at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

“We need all of our fans and the community to come out for the game and support us,” Warren said. “ETSU is a very good team and is going to be ready to play on Friday.”

The showdown among the league co-leaders was in doubt for the first 25 minutes. Florida Gulf Coast (9-13, 5-6 A-Sun) out-hustled the Dolphins in the first half to take a 29-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

With eight straight wins at home, the Eagles opened the second half by pushing the lead to 11 on a basket by Christian Wolf.

JU’s back was firmly against the wall and the Dolphins responded. Colbert opened the run with put back, followed by layup by Ben Smith on a steal.

As momentum started to turn, Galvin hit a pair of free throws and freshman Alston hit one of two as JU trimmed the deficit to four in less than two minutes.

On the ensuing JU possession, Galvin stepped up with another 3-pointer to cut the lead to one. Edwards capped the run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give JU its first lead since the opening minutes, 45-43.

FGCU battled back to take a two-point lead on a 3-pointer by Reed Baker with 7:54 left in the game, putting the Eagles ahead 52-50.

With the game tied at 57 with 3:52 left in the game, the Dolphins came out of the final media timeout with Galvin hitting his second 3-pointer of the game to put JU back on top.

After the shot went in, it was all JU from there. The Dolphins quickly pushed the lead to eight courtesy of a Smith 3-pointer.

The Eagles got as close as five in the final minute, but JU finished the game by hitting 9-of-10 from the free throw line to seal the win.

Smith had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists for JU, while Colbert picked up his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Florida Gulf Coast got 15 points from Baker with Wolf adding 12 points, none in the final 15 minutes, while Derrick O’Neil had 10.

Friday’s first place matchup with East Tennessee State is set to tipoff at 7 p.m., with the game being televised on Comcast Sports Southeast as the A-Sun “Game of the Week.”