Dolphins Fall To Mercer, 71-68, In A-Sun Play

Jan. 6, 2003

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Kevin Sheppard's (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) three-pointer with four seconds to play fell short as Mercer held on for a 71-68 win over Jacksonville in Atlantic Sun action Monday night at Swisher Gymnasium. It was the second consecutive game for JU that came down to the final possession as the Dolphins fell to Troy State, 70-68, on a last-second put-back jumper on Saturday.

Sheppard finished with a game-high 20 points - his third-straight game with 20 or more points - including a three-pointer with 13 seconds to play which brought the Dolphins (4-9, 0-2 A-Sun) back within one, 69-68. Following two free throws by Mercer's (7-3, 2-0 A-Sun) Delmar Johnson, Sheppard took the inbounds pass near half court and dribbled down for the final shot attempt. The Dolphins trailed by as many as 14 in the second half before battling back.

Tabari Brown (Brunswick, Ga.), making his second start of the season, added 14 points and nine rebounds for JU, which scored a season-low 21 points in the first half and shot just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc. James Daniels (Port St. Joe, Fla.) added 12 points and five boards. Aleem Muhammad paced Mercer with 19 points, while Scott Emerson added 17 points and seven boards before fouling out with 1:06 to play. The Bears connected on just 3-of-17 three-pointers, but shot 54 percent from the field in the second half.

JU shot just 28 percent in the first half, but limited Mercer to just 10-of-28 shooting and forced eight turnovers to trail 25-21 at the half. Mercer opened the second half with a 15-5 run thanks to nine points from Muhammad and took a 40-26 lead with 15:14 to play. The Dolphins answered with a 13-1 run to pull within two, 41-39, with 10:58 to play, but the Bears immediately pushed the lead back to nine with a 7-0 run before Daniels scored on a driving lay-up to stop the spurt at the 8:20 mark. Daniels added another three and Brown and Sheppard scored on back-to-back possessions to get JU back within two, 50-48, with 6:21 to play in the game. Mercer hit 13-of-20 free throws in the second half as the two teams combined for 44 fouls and 47 free throws.

The Dolphins return to action on Friday, Jan. 10, at Stetson at 8 p.m. The game will be televised live by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) as part of the Atlantic Sun Conference Game-of-the-Week package.