FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2001
Dolphins Basketball Holds Off Florida Tech, 77-67
Nov. 16, 2001
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University junior point guard Kevin Sheppard (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) scored 21 points, grabbed five rebounds and four steals to guide the Dolphins (1-0) to a 77-67 victory over Florida Tech in their season-opener Friday night at Swisher Gymnasium.
The game was a stark contrast to last year's contest when JU ripped Florida Tech, 95-44, at Swisher. The Panthers (0-1) battled the Dolphins almost the entire length of the game, but junior center Ryan Lewis (New Orleans, La.) made the difference in the middle. The 6-9 transfer from Georgia added 14 points, a game-high eight rebounds and five blocked shots, while junior forward Calvin Warner (Jacksonville, Fla.) chipped in with 14 points and four rebounds in his Dolphin debut.
The contest was kept close on a poor shooting night from the Dolphins, who made 41.3 percent (26-of-63) of their shots from the floor and only 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from behind the arc. However, the Dolphins helped themselves from the charity stripe, sinking 22-of-34 attempts. The Panthers were held down by the JU defense, shooting only 39.4 percent (26-of-66) from the field, 25.0 percent (4-of-16) from three-point range and only 11-of-18 from the free throw line.
Neither team led by more than four, there were six ties and seven lead changes during the first half. The Dolphins held their largest advantage of the half going into the locker room ahead, 33-29, behind 13 points from Sheppard.
JU jumped out quickly during the first five minutes of the second frame, going on a 17-4 run to take a 50-33 lead. The Dolphins pushed the lead to 22, their largest of the night, at 60-38 with 10:17 left, but were unable to put the Panthers away without a fight. Florida Tech went on a 27-10 run to cut the lead to 70-65 with 1:46 remaining. That's when Sheppard took over. Sheppard, who had been quiet during the second half, scored six of his eight second-half points during the final 1:14 to ice the game for the Dolphins.
Jon Brown led the Panthers with 16 points and eight rebounds, Greg Barnes added 13 points and Kyle Pickering had 10 points and seven boards. JU returns to action when it hosts New Orleans Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Swisher Gymnasium.
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