Men's hoops fall to ETSU, 88-71

Feb. 3, 2006

Final Stats

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A slow start and turnover problems plagued the Jacksonville men's basketball team as East Tennessee State rolled to an 88-73 win in Atlantic Sun Conference play Friday night at Swisher Gymnasium.

Four Buccaneers (13-8, 10-4 A-Sun) scored in double figures, led by Tim Smith's 27 points, eight assists and seven steals. Ben Rhoda added 17 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The Dolphins (1-20, 1-13 A-Sun) dropped their 18h straight game despite 13 points from Aubrey Conerly and Ljubisa Vrcelj, who tied his career high with a game-high nine rebounds.

"We weren't able to execute on offense early tonight and that cost us," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We have to come out and play for 40 minutes and play with same intensity on every possession."

The Bucs were able to pound the Dolphins on the boards, holding a 46-35 advantage on the glass. ETSU also out scored JU inside, racking up 48 points in the paint to JU's 30.

The Jacksonville offense struggled in the first half, hitting just 11-of-32 from the floor while the Bucs raced to a 15-point lead midway through the half. Smith and Rhoda scored 12 apiece in the first half as ETSU took a 47-36 lead into the intermission.

The second half saw the Bucs continue to hold the Dolphins in check, opening the half on a 27-8 run to push the lead to 30 with 11:46 left in the game.

Jacksonville didn't give up over the final 10 minutes, finishing the game on a 9-0 run to cut the final margin to 15, capped by a 3-pointer by Michael DiBendetto on his first attempt of the season.

Antonio Cool and Evan Jefferson both chipped in for the Dolphins with 12 points apiece. David Fine came off the bench with seven points but more importantly dished four assists and four steals.

The Dolphins are back in action again on Sunday against Kennesaw State. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.