Jacksonville set to host ETSU in the Atlantic Sun "Game of the Week"

Feb. 2, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville men's basketball team begins its home stretch with five of its final seven games at home.

The first brings the bright lights of Comcast Sports Southeast to Swisher Gymnasium on Friday night as the Dolphins face East Tennessee State in the Atlantic Sun Conference "Game of the Week." Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

"We're excited to be back home, but more importantly, we're excited to be able to play in front of our fans again," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "They have been a huge boost to us throughout the season and we look forward to a big crowd out to support us again on Friday."

Jacksonville (1-19, 1-12 A-Sun) is looking to snap its school-record 17-game losing streak in its second appearance in the A-Sun "Game of the Week." JU claimed an 88-71 win in its first appearance in the league's big game.

"It's always great to be on television and give our school more exposure," Warren said. "It's also a great opportunity for our fans throughout the region to be able to watch us play as well."

The Dolphins came close to breaking back into the win column over the weekend, falling to Gardner-Webb by four and holding the lead until a late Campbell run in the final six minutes.

"We're very close to winning a game," Warren said. "What we're missing is that one key stop or that one big shot that is the difference in the game."

Jacksonville is also in a battle for the last spot in A-Sun Tournament, trailing Stetson and Mercer for the final spot by three games. The Dolphins will play both of those teams at home in two weeks.

"We have a lot of ground to make up, but we still have some time left," Warren said. "We just have to keep working hard every day at getting better and something good will happen for us."

JU vs. East Tennessee State

When: Friday, Feb. 3 (7:30 p.m.)

Where: Swisher Gymnasium

Records: JU (1-19, 1-12 A-Sun), ETSU (12-8, 9-4 A-Sun)

Series: JU leads 2-1

Radio: Live on ESPN 1460. Pregame show airs at 7:15 p.m.

TV: Live on Comcast Sports Southeast (PxP: Barry Milligan, Color: Sonny Smith)

Web: Live audio on at 7:15 p.m.

Storylines: Jacksonville looks to snap its 17-game losing streak. The Dolphins start their stretch run with five of the final seven games at home. JU looks to improve to 2-0 on CSS.

JU Noteables: The Dolphins 17-game losing streak is the longest in school history...In the first 20 games of the season, the Dolphins have fallen behind by seven or more in the first 10 minutes in 17. In the past seven games, the Dolphins have trailed by 10 or more in the first eight minutes five times. Antonio Cool scored 19 points and had two assists in the JU's loss at Campbell. It is the seventh time this season that Cool has scored 19 or more in a game and gives him 15 straight games in which he has scored in double figures. Evan Jefferson hit multiple 3-pointers in a game for the seventh time this season, tying his career-high with three, en route to scoring 13 points.

ETSU Noteables: The Buccaneers enter the 2005-06 season with a lineup comprised of familiar playmakers as well as a new cast of fresh faces . After back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament in both 2003 and 2004, untimely injuries cost ETSU in 2004-05 and resulted in a tough campaign . However, this year the team hopes to return to its winning form with a backcourt that promises to be one of the best in Atlantic Sun Conference play, as well as a reinforced frontcourt with the return of players from injury and a pair of junior college additions . After testing the waters of the NBA Draft pool, senior Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) returns for his final season in Johnson City . Smith, who a year ago finished seventh in the country with 22.2 points per game, has his eyes set on breaking ETSU's all-time scoring record this season while taking the Bucs back to the NCAA Tournament . Smith will be joined by talented seniors Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) and Dillion Sneed (Chicago), as well as redshirt junior Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.), who missed last season with a foot injury . Newcomers to watch in 2005-06 include guards Courtney Pigram (Memphis, Tenn.), Tayloe Taylor (Memphis), Dante Williams (Romulus, Mich.), and Shaun Keaton (Albany, Ga.), as well as junior forward Eryk Thomas (Fremont, Calif.) . The Bucs, under the direction of third-year head coach Murry Bartow, also look forward to hosting the 2005-06 General Shale Atlantic Sun Conference Men's Basketball Championships in Johnson City, March 2-4, 2006.