Dolphins fall at home to ETSU, 83-77

Jan. 25, 2008

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In front of the largest crowd to watch at JU basketball game in more than 20 years, the Dolphins came up short as East Tennessee State used a late spurt to take a 83-77 win at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday night.

JU's Marcus Allen scored a season-high 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double to lead three Dolphins in double figures, but it wasn't enough to extend the six-game winning streak in front of a crowd of 6,873.

The Dolphins (9-9, 4-1 A-Sun) undoing came in taking care of the basketball, turning the ball over 16 times with the Bucs (10-9, 4-2 A-Sun) getting 12 steals and scoring 13 points off those turnovers.

"We didn't take care of the basketball tonight and you can't do that against a team like ETSU," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We had a great crowd here tonight behind us and we appreciate everyone coming out, but we didn't execute when we needed to down the stretch."

ETSU got 22 points from Courtney Pigram, going 8-of-20 from the floor with four 3-pointers. He was one of five Bucs in double figures, with Kenyona Swader adding 15 points and seven rebounds.

Allen's 23 points marked the third straight game that he scored 20 or more and the third time in the last four games he racked up a double-double. Ben Smith had 19 points and four assists while Lehmon Colbert racked up 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

In a tightly contested game, neither team had a lead larger than eight points, with ETSU taking that lead with just over a minute to go in the game.

Leading by one with just over three minutes left, ETSU scored seven straight points over the next two minutes to take a 77-69 lead and put the game away for good.

The late run by ETSU spoiled what looked like another epic comeback by the Dolphins. JU had trailed by five, 70-65, with 4:15 to go, but scored four in a row - with Colbert capping the run with a dunk to cut the deficit back to one.

Jacksonville being behind was not always the case in the second half. JU stormed out of the locker room in the second half by scoring the first five points to take a 41-37 lead just two minutes into the second half.

ETSU made a living at the free throw line in the second half, hitting all 15 free throw attempts. The Bucs needed that to overcome a seven rebound deficit, with JU pounding the offensive glass with 16 rebounds.

The Bucs took a 37-36 lead into the locker room at halftime courtesy of layup at the buzzer by Tiggs. The layup turned the momentum back to ETSU after JU had gone on a 10-4 run to take a 36-35 lead on an Allen layup with three seconds left.

The crowd of 6,873 is the largest to attend a JU home game since a sellout at the old Jacksonville Coliseum on Dec. 17, 1985 against North Carolina.

JU has a quick turnaround as they travel to USC Upstate for a Sunday game at 2 p.m.