JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Unable to find an answer for the Samford interior presence, the Jacksonville University men’s basketball team fell on Friday night, 75-58, at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The Dolphins drop to 3-7 with the loss.
The night began with all-too-familiar theme as of late for Jacksonville. Samford started the game with an 8-0 run scored entirely in the paint. The Bulldogs continued to press the ball down low, but the Dolphins were able to score their opening bucket after Sam Hunt collapsed down to force a turnover. Javon Dawson grabbed the ball then raced upcourt to get on the receiving end of an assist from Vince Martin. Moments later, Tyler Alderman scored a follow-up bucket to make it 8-4 with just under 12 minutes remaining in the half.
Led by Tim Williams, Samford responded with a 9-0 run to extend its lead to 17-4 before Marcel White could end the run with a triple from the wing. Undeterred, the Bulldogs kept on exploiting the paint to their advantage. Williams would go into the break with 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting. Dawson did his best to keep the Dolphins in it with 10 first half points, but the Bulldogs took a 33-17 lead into the locker room.
Martin stepped up in the early minutes of the second half, scoring the first five points to cut into the Samford advantage. The Bulldogs went back down low to score a pair of buckets but were then answered by back-to-back 3-pointers from Marcellous Bell that made it 39-28. After Williams put the visitors back up by 13, Martin picked the pocket of Raijon Kelly and initiated a fast break that ended with an emphatic dunk from White that forced a timeout from the Samford sideline.
The Bulldogs squelched the JU momentum by once again attacking the paint. First Kelly worked free and laid one in to put Samford back on top by 13, then, moments later, Tyler Hood converted a three-point play to make it 46-30. The lead topped out at 17 the rest of the way, but Jacksonville could never shrink it to anything closer than 13 as time ran down on the Dolphins.
Dawson put together a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Dolphins. White added 14, while Martin had eight points and eight assists. Bell was the third Dolphin in double-figures with 10 points.
Williams went 12-of-13 from the floor en route to a game-high 25 points for the Bulldogs. Hood added 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Connor Miller nabbed 10 boards.
Jacksonville wraps up non-conference play on Monday night as they host South Carolina State (3-7) at 7 p.m. from Veterans Memorial Arena. Atlantic Sun action picks up on Dec. 30 with a 7 p.m. contest with the Mercer Bears at Swisher Gym.
-The game was the 1,750th in program history.
-Down last season's two leading scorers -- Jarvis Haywood and Keith McDougald -- Jacksonville had its lowest scoring total of the season.
-Jacksonville had its lowest output of the season from the bench, getting eight points from the reserves.
-The Dolphins limited Samford to three 3-pointers in the game, a season-best from the defense.
-Javon Dawson's double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds) was the first of his JU career.
-Dawson had double-digit rebounds for the second straight contest and led the Dolphins in boards for the third time this season.
-Dawson also set a career high with 34 minutes played and matched a career high with three steals.
-Dawson's 11 rebounds matched RJ Slawson's 11 boards in the team's win over Florida College for most in a game. Each player's performance came as part of a double-double.
-He also set a Jacksonville season high of eight made field goals. Jarvis Haywood (at Wake Forest) and J.R. Holder (at UCF) had previously hit seven in a single game.
-Vince Martin set a career high and Jacksonville season high with eight assists.
-Marcellous Bell had the second double-digit scoring game of the season and fifth of his career with 10 points.
-Marcel White set a new career high with 28 minutes played and had his first multi-steal game.
-J.R. Holder matched a season/career high with two assists.
-RJ Slawson had his fourth game this season with two blocks.