Dolphins ready for Music City Showdown

Feb. 5, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After a rugged schedule that kept them away from home the entire month of December, the JU men's basketball team has turned into a group of savy road warriors.

The Dolphins (12-9, 8-1 A-Sun), who are in sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference, face their closest pursuer and two-time defending champion Belmont at the Curb Event Center on Thursday.

Jacksonville has won its last five road games after enduring a seven-game losing streak during December. It is the longest road winning streak since the 2001-02 season and only the fifth time in school history that the Dolphins have put together a streak of five or more away from home.

"When you play on the road, you have to rely on your teammates and rally around each other," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "Belmont is one of the top programs in this conference and we know that they are going to be ready to play."

The keys to the Dolphins success on the road of late are a strong defensive effort, along with everyone on the team contributing on offense.

Ben Smith and Marcus Allen are averaging 14.2 points per game during the winning streak, with Allen pulling down an average of 8.2 rebounds per game. JU has held three of its opponents to less than 60 points, with the opponents average 59.4 points per game during the streak.

The Dolphins shooting has also been dead on, hitting 45.8 percent from the floor and 41.5 percent from behind the arc. JU has put up more points at the free-throw line, with Smith and Allen combining to hit 42-of-53 at the stripe.

Ayron Hardy and Lehmon Colbert have elevated their games as well. Colbert is averaging 10.4 points per game during the streak, with Hardy chipping in with 8.4. The duo combines to average 9.8 rebounds per game as well.

Another key for the Dolphins play on the road has been strong starts. JU has gone into the locker room at halftime with the lead in four of the games, with the only second half comeback coming at Savannah State with Hardy hitting the game-winning shot at the buzzer.

Tipoff for Thursday's game is set for 8 p.m. (EST), with the game being broadcast on 1010XL as well as on ASun.TV through JUDolphins.com.