MONDAY, MARCH 02, 2009
Ben Smith named A-Sun Player of the Week
After leading the JU men’s basketball team to its first Atlantic Sun Conference championship, Ben Smith was named the league’s Player of the Week.

Smith scored a team-best 27 points in leading the Dolphins to an 84-82 overtime win over Belmont, sealing Jacksonville to the first regular season conference title in the history of the program.

“As one of the leaders on this team, Ben stepped up and made some big plays for us down the stretch,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren.

Smith hit 10-of-19 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from behind the arc and 4-of-5 at the free throw line in the win over the Bruins –the first at Belmont since 2005.

While his scoring contributions were a major component of JU’s win, he also played well in other phases. He pulled down six rebounds, including two on the offensive glass.

He dished out eight assists, including a pass on the game-winning 3-pointer to Marcus Allen – drawing a double team on a drive to the lane, while committing just three turnovers in 42 minutes at the point guard spot.

His defense was solid as well, picking up five steals and knocked the ball away from Belmont’s Alex Renfroe on his attempt to drive to the basket on the last possession of overtime.

In the Lipscomb game on Thursday, Smith scored a team-high 19 points with five rebounds and five assists.

With the No. 1 seed, the Dolphins are off until Friday night when they will face the winner of the Lipscomb-Campbell game in the semifinals. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m., with the game being televised on Comcast Sports Southeast.