DELAND, Fla. – The Jacksonville University men’s basketball team didn’t get its South Florida swing off to the start they wanted at Florida Gulf Coast, but the Dolphins (9-14, 5-7 Atlantic Sun) are far from the first team to fall victim at Alico Arena this season. The Fins now come north to Stetson (6-17, 4-7 A-Sun), looking to salvage a split from their weekend set of games. The Hatters and Dolphins will tip off from the Edmunds Center on Saturday at 1 p.m. Scott Manze and Artis Gilmore will bring you the action on 92.5 FM, and ASun.TV will have a live stream of the game as well.
The Dolphins will be eager to put Thursday night’s showing in the rearview mirror. Jacksonville had the blueprint for beating Florida Gulf Coast after downing the Eagles, 76-69, in the earlier meeting between the two teams in January. Nonetheless, FGCU was able to execute effectively thanks to the numerous fast break opportunities the Eagles created off Jacksonville turnovers and missed shots. The Dolphins held a one-point lead through 10 minutes, but Florida Gulf Coast exploded after that, racing out on a 21-2 run that effectively ended any chance that the Dolphins had to keep pace.
Stetson experienced a different type of disappointment on Thursday night. Hosting North Florida, the Hatters held an 11-point lead on the Ospreys with 11 minutes to go, only to give up a 22-6 run that put UNF in command. Stetson cut the lead to two in the final minute and had a look at the buzzer for the win, but Hunter Miller’s last-ditch effort bounced away. Despite the loss, it was yet another solid performance inside the Edmunds Center for the Hatters. They’ve put together a 5-4 record at home this season – with wins over Lipscomb, East Tennessee State and USC Upstate – but gone just 1-13 in road or neutral-site games. Willie Green looks to carry the load offensively for the Hatters, the senior forward enters the game with a 14.1 points per game average, the only player on the team scoring in double-figures. At 62.0 points per game, Stetson has the lowest scoring offense in the A-Sun.
Of course you can’t have a game between Jacksonville and Stetson without talking about the history between the two sides. The Dolphins have played the Hatters more than any other opponent, and Saturday will be the 79th meeting all-time. Including the JU win on Jan. 11 – an 88-75 victory in which Keith McDougald scored a career-high 27 points and reached 1,000 points for his career – Jacksonville has a 45-33 lead in the series and will be trying to snap a three-game losing streak at the Edmunds Center that dates back to 2010-11. All told, the home team has won seven straight in this matchup and the Dolphins are 9-14 at the Edmunds Center since it opened in 1974.
Jacksonville is back at home on Feb. 14 to face North Florida in the River City Rumble at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster.com and at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Box Office. For groups of 20 or more, purchases can be made at (904) 256-7863.