Dolphins upset by Upstate, 70-59
After an emotional win over East Tennessee State on Friday night, it was easy to expect the JU men’s basketball team to suffer a letdown.

Instead, the Dolphins came out flat and USC Upstate took advantage – leading from start to finish as the Spartans upset JU and ended the Dolphins’ nine-game winning streak, 70-59, at Swisher Gymnasium on Sunday.

Upstate (5-16, 4-8 A-Sun) got a game-high 16 points from Nick Schneiders as he led four Spartans in double figures.

JU (12-9, 10-2 A-Sun) had just two players finish in double figures, with Marcus Allen leading the team with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“We came out flat and they took advantage of every opportunity,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We’ve got a lot to work on in practice this week.”

The Dolphins hit just 19-of-52 from the floor (36.5 percent) for their worst shooting night in more than a month and failed to hit 40 percent of their shots for the first time in 11 games.

The atypical performance can best be characterized by the Spartans holding a 33-25 advantage on the glass – just the second time this season that JU has been beaten on the boards. Outside of Allen, only three Dolphins finished the game with multiple rebounds.

Aiding Upstate’s cause was red-hot shooting night. The Spartans hit 24-of-45 from the floor (53.3 percent), including 12-of-19 in the second half.

“We gave them a lot of good looks on defense and clearly didn’t do a good job of keeping them off the glass,” Warren said. “You have to give them credit because they hit a lot of shots down the stretch and didn’t allow us to get back into the game.”

With an eight-point lead at halftime, the Spartans pushed the lead to 17 just eight minutes into the second half.

The Dolphins mounted a charge, slowly cutting the deficit to seven, 59-52, after Lehmon Colbert hit 1-of-2 free throws with 2:41 left in the game.

Needing stops over the final two minutes, JU wasn’t able to get them as the Spartans were 7-of-8 at the free throw line and never let the Dolphins get any closer to hold on for the win.

Mezie Uzochukwu had 15 points for the Spartans while Josh Chavis added 13 and Gabor Boros had 10. Bobby Davis had eight points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.

Ayron Hardy was the only other Dolphin in double figures with 10 points, hitting two 3-pointers.

Lehmon Colbert and Ben Smith were both held to single digits, Colbert getting four points while Smith had six. JU’s two leading scorers combined to go 2-of-18 from the floor and 1-of-7 from behind the arc.

JU is off until Saturday when they travel to face Mercer. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.