SATURDAY, JANUARY 31, 2009
JU men host USC Upstate in Swisher on Sunday
After taking sole possession of first place on Friday night, the JU men’s basketball team gets its first game with a target on their backs as they host USC Upstate on Sunday at Swisher Gymnasium at 2 p.m.

JU (12-8, 10-1 A-Sun) has to put its 82-72 overtime win over ETSU in the Atlantic Sun Conference “Game of the Week” behind them quickly.

“We tell the guys every day that you can’t dwell on one game, win or lose,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “All you can do is focus on the next game on the schedule. USC Upstate is a team that is disciplined and well coached. We know we have to play at high level for us to continue our success.”

The Dolphins have won nine straight games, all by 10 points or more, to take over the top spot in the league standings.

One of the major reasons for JU’s surge has been the balanced scoring attack as at least four Dolphins have scored in double figures in all nine wins. It’s the longest winning streak for JU in almost 30 years.

Since being held to single digits against UNF, Smith is averaging 20 points per game over the last five – putting more than 20 three times, including the last two outings.

He added another chapter to his storied career with a pair of 3-pointers in the final 65 seconds to force overtime on Friday en route to a game-high 26 points.

But this team is more than just one player. Smith has seen the supporting cast make plays as well.

Lehmon Colbert has put up two straight double-doubles, reaching double digits in points and rebounds. Marcus Allen just missed a double-double against ETSU, scoring in double figures in two of the last three.

Throw in the rapid improvement of Ayron Hardy, who leads the conference in field goal percentage, and you have four players averaging double digits in scoring.

“We have a lot of talent on the team and a lot of guys who can step up and make plays for us,” Warren said. “That’s shown by having four guys in double figures scoring and everyone pulling down two rebounds per game.”