Turnovers haunt Dolphins in 77-73 loss to Gardner-Webb

Jan. 28, 2006

Final Stats

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - When you turn the ball over, bad things happen.

For the JU men's basketball team, an early rash of turnovers led to an early deficit that they never were able to overcome, falling to Gardner-Webb 77-73 on Saturday at Paul Porter Arena in Atlantic Sun Conference play.

The Dolphins (1-18, 1-11 A-Sun) dropped their 16th straight game with 20 turnovers, with 11 coming in the first half. Garnder-Webb (10-9, 7-5 A-Sun) was able to convert those turnovers into 21 points.

Aubrey Conerly led the Dolphins in scoring for the second straight game with 22 points while dishing out five assists. Mario Brown tied his career-high with 17 points and five rebounds while Antonio Cool scored in double figures for the 14th straight game with 13 points.

"Our margin for error is very slim and when we turn the ball over, we're not getting a chance to score," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We shot the ball well in the second half, but we just couldn't get enough defensive stops when we needed them to get back into the game."

JU was ice cold in the first half, hitting just 9-of-26 from the floor (34.6 percent). In the second half, the Dolphins were on fire, hitting 18-of-27 (66.7 percent), their best shooting half of the season.

The difference in the game came early, as JU got behind big early for the fifth time in the last six games. Five turnovers in the first seven minutes of play helped the Bulldogs take an early 20-7 lead that JU was never able to match.

The Dolphins made a run, cutting the lead to six on layup by Cool with less than three minutes left in the half. But the Bulldogs had designs of establishing a big lead, as Bret Noonan hit a 3-pointer from the corner as time expired in the first half to give Gardner-Webb a 37-26 lead.

And the Bulldogs didn't let up in the second half. GWU pushed the lead to 16 in the first four minutes before JU made a 9-2 run to cut the lead back to nine with just under 14 minutes left in the game.

The two teams battled back and forth over the next few minutes until the Bulldogs went on a 9-2 run to push the lead back to 16, capped by a fastbreak dunk by Chris Gash.

The Dolphins made a desperate rally in the final moments, cutting the lead to seven with a minute to go on dunk by Cool, and later to six on a 3-pointer by Cool with 23 seconds left.

Jacksonville got a layup from Conerly with three seconds left but couldn't force a turnover as the Bulldogs ran out the clock for the win.

All five starters scored in double figures for Gardner-Webb, led by Gash's 19 points. Simon Conn racked up a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds while Brian Bender added 12 and Tim Jennings and T.J. McCullough had 10 apiece.

The Dolphins wrap up their North Carolina road swing on Monday at Campbell. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.