SATURDAY, JANUARY 12, 2008
Ben Smith's jumper at the buzzer gives JU a 72-70 win
Jan. 12, 2008
MACON, Ga. - Ben Smith's 15-foot jumper over a defender at the buzzer gave the JU men's basketball team a 72-70 win over Mercer in Atlantic Sun Conference action on Saturday afternoon.
The Dolphins, who held by a 16 point lead at one point in the second half, saw the lead slip away in the final minutes before Smith's heroics. The Dublin, Ga. native scored 14 points, with 10 coming in the second half. He also dished out six assists while going 4-of-9 from the floor.
"That was a tough shot to hit in a pressure situation," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "It was a great win for us, but we've got to do better when we put ourselves in that position again."
JU (7-8, 4-0 A-Sun) is now the only undefeated team in conference play and has won four in a row after an eight-game losing streak.
"We don't talk about streaks or that stuff, we just treat each game as its own and for us to give our best effort each time out," Warren said.
Smith's performance made him one of four Dolphins in double figures. Marcus Allen had his second double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Lehmon Colbert added 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Evan Jefferson had 10 points, hitting two big 3-pointers in the second half.
"This was another team win with everyone making contributions," Warren said. "Our guys off the bench gave us some quality minutes today and everyone gave a good effort."
With a 13-point lead at the half, the Dolphins pushed their lead to 16 on a Jefferson 3-pointer with 7:25 to go in the game.
But the Bears (7-9, 2-1 A-Sun) were not about to go away, cutting the deficit to seven, 63-56, on a fastbreak layup by Shaddean Aaron with 4:12 left in regulation.
The Dolphins extended the lead to 10, 66-56 with 3:41 left in the game. Over the next two minutes, the Bears would go on a 12-1 run to take their first lead of the night, 68-67, on a 3-pointer by James Florence with 1:22 to go.
Smith tied the game with a free throw and after a missed jumper by Florence, Smith nailed a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left after being fouled by Florence - his fifth.
Trailing by two, the Bears went inside with Calvin Henry making an acrobatic layup to tie the game with 14 seconds left to set up Smith's game winner at the buzzer.
Mercer had all five starters score in double figures, with Aaron scoring a game-high 18 points. Henry added 15 points and seven rebounds while Florence, the league's second-leading scorer, was held to 14.
Sam Dolan had 11 and Brian Pfohl added 10 for the Bears.
The Dolphins picked up right where they left off on Thursday, opening the game on 20-8 run en route to a 34-21 lead at the intermission. Hardy and Allen scored nine points apiece to lead JU.
JU wraps up its non-conference schedule on Tuesday at Savannah State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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