SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2002
Dolphins Nip UCF In Overtime, 82-80
Feb. 23, 2002
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Kevin Sheppard (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) hit two free throws with 1.5 seconds to play in overtime to give Jacksonville a much-needed, 82-80, win over UCF Saturday on Senior Day at Swisher Gymnasium. The Dolphins finish the regular season 18-11 overall, 12-8 in the Atlantic Sun Conference and will have to wait until after tonight's conference games to find out which seed they have earned for the A-Sun Championship, Feb 28-March 2 in Orlando. JU entered the game tied for fifth along with Samford (12-8), which defeated Mercer, 69-49, earlier today.
With the game tied at 80, Sheppard was called for an offensive foul with six seconds to play giving the ball back to UCF. Senior walk-on forward Johnny Jones (West Palm Beach, Fla.), playing in his final home game at JU, stole the Golden Knight's inbounds pass at half court and then fed Sheppard who was fouled going to the hoop. Sheppard, who finished with 11 points and six assists, also hit one-of-two free throws with eight seconds to play in regulation to send the game into overtime. Following Sheppard' free throws, UCF's last second pass down court was knocked down giving the Dolphins their first win in three games.
UCF won the first meeting between the two teams, 73-72, on Nov. 29 on a put-back by Joey Graham with less than a second to play. The end of regulation of today's game played out the same way, but Paul Reed's put-back attempt with a second to play rimmed out. The Golden Knights led in the game from the nine-minute mark in the first half until JU went ahead, 65-64, on a Travis Robinson (Gastonia, N.C.) three-pointer with 59 seconds to play in regulation. Robinson, who finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, also hit a three in overtime to put the Dolphins ahead, 80-78, with 32 seconds to play.
Calvin Warner (Jacksonville, Fla.) paced the JU scoring with 23 points, while junior Tabari Brown (Brunswick, Ga.) added a career-high 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including two free throws that tied the game at 77 with 1:53 to play in overtime. Freshman David Lee (Columbus, Ga.) came off the bench to score nine points, including two big three-pointers in overtime, while senior Ali Kaba (Sanniquelle, Liberia) grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. The Dolphins out-rebounded UCF, 49-36, including a season-high 24 offensive boards, while forcing 17 turnovers and limiting the Golden Knight's to 37 percent shooting from the floor in the second half. Meanwhile, JU committed just six turnovers in the final 25 minutes after turning the ball over 13 times in the first half. The Dolphins hit 4-of-6 shots in overtime, including three treys, after shooting just 39 percent in regulation.
Reed led four Golden Knights in double figures with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Stephen Graham added 18 points and four assists. Ed Dotson chipped in 15 and Joey Graham finished with 14. UCF dominated the first half and led by as much as 10 before JU cut the lead to 32-25 at the break.
The Dolphins have won 18 games in back-to-back seasons, marking the most wins for JU over a two-year period (36) since 1985-86 (21-10) and 1986-87 (19-11).
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