Jacksonville drops second straight A-Sun game

Jan. 5, 2006

Final Stats

DeLAND, Fla. - - A slow start and a cold-shooting night at the free throw line doomed the Jacksonville men's basketball team in a 69-57 loss to Stetson in Atlantic Sun Conference play on Thursday night.

The Dolphins (1-10, 1-3 A-Sun) struggled at the free throw line, hitting just 13-of-25 from the charity stripe in their eighth straight loss despite 14 points and seven rebounds from Ljubisa Vrcelj.

Stetson (2-10, 2-2 A-Sun) won its second straight by jumping out to an early 13-6 lead and never trailed. Anthony Register scored 17 points and E.J. Gordon added 14 points and eight rebounds in the Hatters second straight win.

"We're close to being a good team," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We're just a few possessions away in each game from being right in middle of these games."

Vrcelj continued his stellar play, scoring 30 points in the last two games and leading the Dolphins in scoring for the first time in his career.

"Ljubisa has been challenged by the coaching staff and his teammates in practice and he's doing a good job of responding," Warren said. "He's been working hard in individuals and getting more post moves. He's made a difference the last couple of games and now we just have to get the rest of the team on the same page."

After falling behind early, the Dolphins were able to cut the lead to three late in the first half but Stetson closed the half on a 12-7 run to take a 34-26 lead at the half.

In the second half, the Hatters came out hot and pushed the lead to 13 in the first five minutes before the dolphins made a rally to cut the lead to four on a layup by Phillip Okonma with 8:28 left in the game.

The Hatters answered with one more run of their own, pushing the lead back to 13 to seal the game.

Antonio Cool added 13 points for JU while Marcus Allen came off the bench with 10 points and seven rebounds.

The Dolphins are back in action on Saturday at home against Lipscomb. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.