FRIDAY, MARCH 06, 2009
JU bounces Lipscomb, advances to title game
With all five starters scoring in double figures, the JU men’s basketball team rolled past Lipscomb, 88-72, in the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament semifinals.

Lehmon Colbert scored a game-high 20 points as JU ended Lipscomb’s (17-14) nine-game winning streak on its home floor.

The Dolphins (18-12) advance to the championship game for the second straight year where they will face East Tennessee State. The title game will be televised on ESPN2, with tipoff set for 6 p.m. (ET). The game will also be broadcast on 1010XL, with Barry Milligan and Artis Gilmore calling the action.

“Since last spring, we have worked to get back to the championship game,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We did a lot of good things tonight, especially in contesting outside shots.”

JU hit 10 3-pointers in the game, knocking down 7-of-9 in the second half. Ben Smith and Colbert each hit three apiece as five Dolphins had a trey in the contest.

Aiding JU’s effort was a strong performance on the boards. The Dolphins held a 12-rebound advantage and limited the Bisons inside play – forcing Adnan Hodzic to score 14 points on 16 shots.

Smith finished the game with 19 points for JU, with Ayron Hardy and Marcus Allen each pouring in 12 while Travis Cohn had 11, with all of those coming in the second half.

In front of packed house at Allen Arena, the Dolphins showed no signs of rust after being off for six days as they opened the game with a 7-0 run.

The lead grew to as many as 15 in the first half as JU took a 38-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

After seeing Lipscomb cut the lead to 12 on the opening possession, the Dolphins slowly built the lead to 30 with 12:14 left in the game – capping the gradual increase with a 14-5 run that was buoyed by outside shooting.

Smith and Cohn each hit a pair of treys during the run, with Cohn scoring eight straight points amid this stretch.

Lipscomb battled back to cut the lead to 12 with 5:25 remaining, but the Dolphins never let the lead slip into single digits in their march to the championship game.

Josh Slater led four Bisons in double figures with 17 points. Hodzic had 14 while Brian Wright added 12 and Brandon Brown tossed in 10.

Saturday’s contest marks the fifth time in JU history that the Dolphins have played for the conference tournament title. Jacksonville is seeking its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1986.