Kevin Sheppard's Late-Game Heroics Lift Dolphins Past Jacksonville State, 57-56

Jan. 30, 2003

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior point guard Kevin Sheppard (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) scored 19 points, including a game-winning 10-foot jumper with 19 seconds to play, and Tabari Brown (Brunswick, Ga.) blocked Jay Heard's lay-up attempt with one second remaining, as JU posted a 57-56 come-from-behind victory over Jacksonville State Thursday night in Atlantic Sun action at Swisher Gymnasium. It's the sixth win in the last seven games for the Dolphins, who improved to 10-10 overall and 5-3 in the A-Sun. Jacksonville State falls to 12-7 overall, 5-4 in league play and has now lost five straight to JU. The last three meetings between the two schools have been decided by a total of five points.

A pair of free throws by JSU's Josh Perry gave the Gamecocks a 56-53 lead with 2:40 to play, but Antwan Robertson (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) answered with baseline jumper on the ensuing possession to cut the deficit to 56-55. After five changes of possession, Sheppard went one-on-one with Poonie Richardson, spinning and penetrating just below the free throw line for the winning basket. Jacksonville State's half-court lob pass to Heard was deflected, but Heard picked the ball up and went up for a lay-up when Brown came from the backside for the game-saving block.

JU trailed by as much as 13 and was down 36-24 at the break after shooting just 9-of-23 with eight turnovers in the first half. The Dolphins outscored the Gamecocks, 33-20, in the second half and limited JSU to just four field goals and 20 percent shooting in the half. JU narrowed the deficit to 49-47 on a pair of Brown free throws with 6:18 to play. Brown's lay-up with 4:49 remaining gave the Dolphins their first lead since the 15:53 mark of the first half, but Richardson answered with a jumper and a free throw to give the Gamecocks a 52-50 lead. Sheppard came right back and hit a deep three-pointer to give the Dolphins a 53-52 lead.

Brown finished with 12 points, six boards, three steals and two blocks. Omar Barlett had a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds for Jax State, while Heard added 10 points and four assists. Richardson and Heard combined for 10 of JSU's 15 turnovers, and the Gamecocks hit just 1-of-13 three-pointers. The Dolphins committed just three turnovers in the second half.

JU returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 6 at Belmont at 9 p.m. The game will be broadcast live by Comcast Sports Southeast.