Ayron Hardy caps last second rally with a buzzer beater to beat Savannah State

Jan. 15, 2008

Box Score

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Just when it looked like the game was over, two freshmen lead the JU men's basketball team to an improbable win.

Trailing by four, Travis Cohn's 3-pointer with six seconds left cut the deficit to one and Ben Smith found Ayron Hardy on the baseline to make a running jumper as time expired to give the Dolphins a 65-64 win at Savannah State on Tuesday.

The Dolphins (8-8, 4-0 A-Sun) trailed by as many as 12 in the second half and slowly cut the deficit over the final 10 minutes, holding the Tigers to just eight points in the final 10 minutes. Hardy's shot gave JU its fifth straight win, bringing JU back to .500.

"Our kids fought tooth and nail throughout this game," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We didn't play JU basketball in the first half and we challenged them to finish strong. That was two big plays by two freshmen, who had to step up and make plays. This was a nice win, but we've got to put this behind us and get ready for another tough challenge on Saturday. "

Hardy's game-winning shot capped an epic night for Smith and Marcus Allen. Smith had 16 points, nine in the second half, while Allen had a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds. Smith had four assists in the game, but none was bigger than his last.

Leading by one with 4.6 seconds left, Raye Bailey missed two free throws and Smith pulled down the rebound, raced up the floor and miraculously found Hardy open on the baseline for the game winner.

"I thought about getting fouled, but I knew the clock was running out so I just threw it up," Hardy said.

Savannah State (9-14) got 14 points from Lazarius Coleman, 13 from Joseph Flegler, 11 from Anthony Jones and 10 from Patrick Hardy.

The Dolphins withstood a hot shooting night from the Tigers, going 8-for-11 from behind the arc, with Flegler hitting 3-of-5. The Dolphins were 8-of-16 from behind the arc and held a 28-23 advantage on the glass and were able to win despite 18 turnovers, 12 coming in the first half.

Cohn tied his season high with seven while Hardy's final shot gave him five shots. The Dolphins had just two players in double figures and were able to win for the first time this season when scoring less than 70 points.

Trailing by as many as 12 in the second half, the Dolphins went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit back to two, 48-46, on a pair of Allen free throws with 11:19 left in the game.

But the Tigers answered with back-to-back 3-pointers by Flegler to extend the lead back to eight, 56-48, with 10:07 remaining in regulation.

Savannah State would have a hard time finding the range in those final 10 minutes as the Dolphins slowly cut the deficit. JU cut it to six with 7:54 and later to four with 2:12 left in regulation.

Leading by just two, 60-58, Patrick Hardy hit two free throws to put the Tigers back up by four with 25 seconds left. Cohn got the inbounds pass, raced up the floor, and hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to one with 12 seconds left - setting up the final scene at the free throw line.

The Dolphins had opened the second half by cutting the seven-point halftime deficit to five in the first two minutes. But the Tigers had plans of their of own, scoring six in a row en route to taking a 12-point lead on a pair of free throws by Anthony Jones.

The first half turned into a shootout at the Tigers hit six 3-pointers from six different players, going on a 10-2 run late in the half to take a 33-26 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Dolphins return to the floor on Saturday at North Florida in a SunTrust River City Rumble doubleheader. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m.