SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2003
Basketball Cruises Past Stetson, 73-59, To Earn A-Sun Tourney Berth

Feb. 22, 2003

Final Stats

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior point guard Kevin Sheppard (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) scored 15 points and handed out nine assists, while senior forward Calvin Warner (Jacksonville/Sandalwood) added 18 points and seven boards as JU cruised to a 73-59 win over Stetson on Senior Day at Swisher Gymnasium. With the win, the Dolphins improve to 13-13 overall, 8-6 in the A-Sun and clinch a spot in the eight-team Atlantic Sun Championship March 6-8 in Atlanta. Stetson (6-18, 4-10) is eliminated from postseason play. JU has won 9 of its last 13 games and finished its home schedule with a 9-3 mark, including six straight.

Sheppard moved into second-place all-time at JU with 410 career assists surpassing Ronnie Murphy (407), while also passing Dee Brown for fourth all-time on the minutes played charts with 3,157 minutes in 110 career games. JU shot a season-best 58 percent from the floor and matched a season high with 22 assists on 26 baskets. The Dolphins limited Stetson to just 34 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers. JU is now 10-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points and held its opponent under 60 points for the sixth time this year.

The Dolphins led 66-44 with 2:24 to play before clearing the bench. The Hatters scored 15 points in the final 2:12 after scoring just 19 points in the first half, when JU built a 30-19 halftime advantage. The Dolphins led 18-7 at the 6:20 mark of the first half after holding Stetson scoreless for nearly six minutes. A three-pointer by Ravii Givens capped a 7-2 run by the Hatters and closed the gap to 20-14, but JU responded with an 11-3 run behind threes from Sheppard, Nolan McBride (Hartford, Conn.) and Riley Didion (Cambridge, Wis.). McBride finished with 11 points off the bench.

After the Dolphins built a 35-21 lead early in the second half, Stetson went on a 13-2 run to pull within 36-34 with 14:44 to play. JU answered with back-to-back three-point plays from Warner and Sheppard, and then James Daniels (Port St. Joe, Fla.), who left the game in the first half to get four stitches above his eye, hit a three-pointer to extend the lead back to 45-34. Daniels scored five of the next eight points as the Dolphins extended the lead to 16 with 8:57 to play.

Givens paced the Hatters with 21 points, while E.J. Gordon has 16 points, including 10 free throws. Stetson handed out just two assists on 19 baskets in the game, but had eight steals to set the school record for single-season steals with 263.

The Dolphins close out the regular season at first-place Mercer (tie) on Thursday at 7 p.m and then at first-place (tie) Troy State on Saturday at 8 p.m.