American rallies for 52-50 win over JU

Dec. 7, 2007

Box Score

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The JU men's basketball saw a seven-point lead evaporate as American held the Dolphins to just two points over the final three minutes to steal a 52-50 win at Bender Arena on Friday night.

With the game tied at 50, Brian Gilmore hit a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds left in the game to give the Eagles (6-5) the win. Those two free throws gave Gilmore 13 points on the night, with eight of those coming in the second half.

The late game struggles overshadowed what seemed to be a watershed win for the Dolphins (3-5), having overcome a five-point halftime deficit behind a strong defensive performance.

Lehmon Colbert led JU with 17 points while Ben Smith scored 10, giving him double figures in scoring in all eight games this season.

"We turned the ball over late in the game and made some uncharacteristic plays that cost us," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We've got to make some corrections and keep our heads up."

The Dolphins had rallied from being down five at the half to taking a seven-point lead, 48-41, as Smith connected on a 3-point play with 3:41 left in the game.

American outscored the Dolphins 11-2 over those final moments, hitting 6-of-7 from the free throw line.

In a foul plagued contest, Jacksonville was whistled for 24 fouls and sent the Eagles to the free throw line 21 times. JU went to the stripe only 11 times as the Eagles had only 14 fouls.

JU used a 7-2 run in the first four minutes of the second half to overcome its sixth halftime deficit in the last seven games, with Ayron Hardy capping the spurt with a 3-pointer in the corner and a steal on the ensuing inbounds with a pass to Andre McMillan for a layup to tie the game at 29.

` The Dolphins hot start to the second half continued as JU took its first lead since the early moments of the game, 33-31, on a driving layup by Smith with 13:35 left in regulation.

American answered with four straight points, with Brian Gilmore scoring on back-to-back layups as the Eagles regained the lead, 35-33, with 12:12 remaining.

The Dolphins trailed at halftime, 27-22, after being outscored 12-7 over the final nine minutes. Jacksonville went through a four-minute drought midway through the half and was fortunate to only be down five despite 12 points from Colbert.

The Eagles got 17 points from Derrick Mercer to join Gilmore as the only players in double figures for American.

The Dolphins return to the floor on Sunday to face No. 5 Georgetown at 1 p.m.