Strong second half seals SunTrust River City Rumble win over UNF

Jan. 19, 2008

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The JU men's basketball team has made it a habit with stingy second half efforts.

That was the case again on Saturday as Ben Smith and Marcus Allen went to work scoring to lead the Dolphins to an impressive 67-56 win over North Florida on Saturday in Atlantic Sun Conference play.

Marcus Allen scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the second half en route to his third double-double of the season with a team-high 11 rebounds. The high scoring night gave Allen back-to-back 20-point efforts for the first time this season.

Joining Allen in double figures was Ben Smith and Lehmon Colbert. Smith had 14 points and three assists while Colbert had 13 points. Smith had 12 and Colbert had eight in the second stanza giving the Dolphins (9-8, 5-0 A-Sun) some firepower for their sixth straight win to stay atop the conference standings.

"We're still a work in progress," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We're progressing each day and just trying to get better as a team. This was a good win for us, but we can't dwell on it too much because we've got more big games down the road."

The win gives JU its first 5-0 start in conference play since the 1986-87 season, when the Dolphins won their first five en route to a second place finish in the Sun Belt Conference. It is just the second time in school history that JU has started this well in league play.

"You don't win championships in January," Warren said. "The season is a marathon, so we know we've have not accomplished anything yet."

The second half saw the Dolphins put together an impressive defensive effort. JU held the Ospreys (1-15, 0-5 A-Sun) to just 10-of-34 in the second half (29.4 percent). The Ospreys were able to stay in the game due to a 45-33 advantage on the boards.

With a four-point halftime lead cut to three with 11 minutes to go, the Dolphins went inside and got the offense rolling again - going on a 15-5 run over the next nine minutes to seal the game. Allen started the run with a three-point play and Smith followed one of his own as JU put the game out of reach.

North Florida got 17 points from Tom Hammonds and 13 points from Chris Timberlake as the duo combined to go 10-for-30 from the floor. James Grimabll pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds.

The Dolphins took a four-point lead into the halftime intermission, 29-25, despite hitting just 3-of-12 from the floor in the final six minutes of the first half. Allen led the Dolphins with nine points and five rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.

JU returns the floor on Friday as they host East Tennessee State in the A-Sun "Game of the Week," with free admission courtesy of the MPS Group. Tipoff for the game is set for 7:30 p.m.