Dolphins fall at South Alabama, 70-57

Dec. 29, 2007

Box Score

MOBILE, Ala. - After an 11 day layoff for the Christmas holidays, the JU men's basketball team got off to a hot start on offense, but saw that cool quickly as the Dolphins struggled shooting in a 70-57 loss at South Alabama on Saturday night at the Mitchell Center.

The Dolphins scored the first seven points of the game, but that quick start went sour late in the first half as South Alabama used a 20-3 run over the final five minutes of the first half and the first two of the second to put the game out of reach.

Brandon Davis led three Jaguars (10-3) in double figures with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Daon Merritt had 13 points, all coming in the first half.

"We got off to a good start, but South Alabama did a good job of converting their offensive rebounds and that really hurt us," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "There are some good things that we can take out of this game, so we're going to go back and watch the film for what we did right and what we did wrong to get ready for conference play."

Jacksonville (3-8) dropped its eighth in a row despite a team-high 12 points from Evan Jefferson. Ayron Hardy was the only other Dolphin in double figures with 11.

The Jaguars dominated the backboards, holding a 47-34 edge and scoring 22 points on second chance attempts.

That overshadowed the Dolphins having their best night in taking care of the basketball, committing a season-low nine turnovers.

During the Dolphins' opening run, JU hit 3-of-4 from the field. Over the final 18 minutes of the first half, JU was just 6-of-29 from the floor as the Jaguars took a 17-point lead into the locker room at halftime.

That 17-point lead was due to a 23-6 run over the final nine minutes of the half after JU had tied the game at 18. The Dolphins got just three points in the final five minutes of the half - all on Aric Brooks free throws.

The Jaguars continued their run starting the second half, scoring the first five points to take a 22-point lead.

JU made a couple of runs in the second half trying to get back into the game. Brian Gilbert hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Dolphins within 15, 55-40, with 9:25 left in the game.

The Jaguars pushed the lead back to 21 but JU made another run, cutting the lead to 13 with 3:12 left on a layup by Travis Cohn.

South Alabama denied the Dolphins comeback by scoring a 3-point play by Davis to push the lead back to 16 and the Jags eased through the final two minutes to seal the win.

The Dolphins return to the hardwood on Thursday as they open Atlantic Sun Conference play at home against Stetson. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.