Men's basketball resumes conference play at Mercer

Dec. 31, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville men's basketball team will have to hold their celebrations of the new year to a minimum.

They will need their rest as the first week in 2006 features the Dolphins playing four games in seven days to resume Atlantic Sun Conference play. JU's first game back in league play is at Mercer on Monday at 6 p.m.

The Dolphins (1-8, 1-1 A-Sun) wrap up the roughest part of their schedule, featuring seven out of eight games on the road, by heading to Stetson on Thursday. JU returns home for a match up with Lipscomb on Saturday and Belmont on Monday.

"We are looking forward to getting back into conference play," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We played a very difficult non-conference schedule to get us ready for the most important part of the year, conference play. Now, the games are more intense and everyone is going to be fighting just as hard to win games because they have added importance now."

On Monday, the Dolphins face Mercer as both teams enter the game with six-game losing streaks.

On the plus side, a win against Mercer would give the Dolphins their best start in conference play in four seasons. The last time the Dolphins started 2-1 in conference play was during the 2001-02 season. Since joining the A-Sun in 1997, the Dolphins have started conference play 2-1 just twice (2000-01 and 2001-02).

JU at Mercer

When: Monday, Jan. 2 (6 p.m.)

Where: Macon, Ga. (University Center)

Records: JU (1-8, 1-1 A-Sun), Mercer (1-7, 0-2 A-Sun)

Series: JU leads 21-12

Radio: Live on ESPN 1460. Pregame show airs at 5:45 p.m.

TV: None

Web: Live audio on at 5:45 p.m.

Storylines: The Dolphins return to Atlantic Sun Conference play looking to snap a six-game losing streak. Jacksonville is also looking to snap a seven-game losing streak on the road, dating back to last season.

JU Noteables: Jacksonville has the second best record among A-Sun teams over the past five seasons. The Dolphins and Bears have one common opponent - Georgia Southern (Mercer lost 98-79 at Georgia Southern, JU was swept by the Eagles). Antonio Cool has scored more than 20 points in the last two games, with a career-high 25 against Ga. Southern. Marcus Allen recorded the third double-double of his freshman season on Thursday. He now leads the team in career double-doubles. Aubrey Conerly has scored in double figures in the last six games for JU, but had his streak of five straight games with five or more assists snapped.

Mercer Noteables: The Bears have lost six straight after opening the year 1-1. Mercer dropped two games at the Dr. Pepper Classic, falling to Howard and Maine.