THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2001
Georgia State Defeats Dolphins, 90-82
Feb. 15, 2001
The statement was made. You better be ready to play for 40 minutes to beat the Jacksonville University Dolphins. Playing in their new black road uniforms for the first time, the JU Dolphins showed the tenacity of a champion, despite falling to first-place Georgia State, 90-82, Thursday night in TAAC action at the GSU Sports Arena.
The undersized Dolphins, playing without junior forward Ali Kaba who broke his hand in the Dolphins win over Jacksonville State last Saturday, shot 69 percent in the second half, hitting 14 of their first 17 shots, to battle back from a 17-point halftime deficit and pull within six in the final minutes before falling to the Panthers.
Darrly Cooper scored 25 and Kevin Morris had 22 to lead four Panthers in double figures as Georgia State connected on 15-of-20 free throws in the second half to hang on for the win. Kevin Sheppard scored 20 to lead JU, including 16 in the second half, while Brandon Williams added 16, 14 of which came down the stretch as JU battled back. The Dolphins also got 10 from James Daniels, five from Johnny Jones and six from Antwan Robertson off the bench. Kris Hunter played his most aggressive offensive game of the season and finished with 10 points, eight boards and four blocks.
The loss ends JU's three-game winning streak and drops the Dolphins to 17-8 overall, 10-6 in the TAAC. Georgia State improves to 22-4 overall, 13-2 in league play and clinches at least a tie for the regular-season championship. Jacksonville will play at Campbell on Saturday at 12 p.m. before returning home for the regular-season finale against Stetson on Feb. 24. The Dolphins will return to Atlanta for the TAAC Championship Feb. 28-March 3.
JU committed 18 turnovers, 13 of which came in the first half, when Georgia State jumped all over the Dolphins and raced out to a 20-6 lead in the first six minutes.
"We came out and absolutely did not compete in the first six minutes," said JU coach Hugh Durham, who was cheered on all night by a group of family and Dolphin supporters behind the bench. "They did whatever they wanted to do and really took it to us. You can't fall behind a team like that and expect to come back."
Thomas Terell had five quick points to open the second half and it looked like the route was on as the Panthers took a 47-28 lead. But Sheppard answered with five straight for JU and battle was on. Every time the Dolphins appeared to be making a run, the Panthers hit a big shot with the shot clock running down or came up with a loose ball or offensive rebound.
Trailing 71-56 with 7:06 to play, JU went on a 13-4 run behind furious defense and three 3-pointers from Williams to cut the GSU lead to 75-69 with 2:45 to play. The Dolphins kept it close and had the ball down 86-80 with 23 seconds to play. Morris stole the ball from Sheppard and scored in transition.
The Panthers also hurt JU by converting 19 offensive rebounds into 21 points second-chance points.
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