Ben Smith’s layup at buzzer in overtime came up just short as the Dolphins dropped their seventh non-conference game in a row with a 66-64 loss in overtime to Bethune-Cookman on Monday night at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Dolphins (2-7) fell behind as many as 11, rallied to force overtime, fell behind early in the extra session and just missed on forcing a second extra session.
Smith led the Dolphins with 19 points, hitting three free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining to tie the game at 52 to force overtime. On the night, Smith was 6-of-15 from the floor with three assists and six steals in 40 minutes of action.
The Wildcats (5-6) were led by C.J. Reed’s 18 points and five assists. Reed was 4-of-14 from the floor, but was 8-of-9 at the free throw line. He was aided by John Holmes, who had 15 points and eight rebounds.
“I wasn’t pleased with our effort tonight,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We weren’t focused and you have to give credit to them. They took advantage of every opportunity.”
Despite forcing 22 turnovers, the Dolphins scored just 11 points while Bethune-Cookman had 14 points off 15 JU turnovers.
The Dolphins had their worst shooting night of the season, hitting just 19-of-59 from the floor (32.2 percent), connecting on 6-of-22 from behind the arc.
JU’s scoring difficulties can best be shown by senior center Marcus Allen not scoring for the first time in his career – a streak spanning 95 games.
The Wildcats came out roaring, taking an 11-point lead midway through the first half, before the Dolphins rallied to cut the deficit to three at halftime, 27-24.
After JU took a 3-point lead just over five minutes into the second half, the Wildcats scored seven in a row to retake the lead, 38-34, with 13 minutes left in regulation.
JU regained the lead one more time as Travis Cohn drove the baseline for a dunk to put the Dolphins ahead 41-40 with 11:22 left in the second half.
The Wildcats led by as many as five with five minute to go, with the Dolphins going on a 7-2 run, capped by Smith’s free throws to send the game into overtime at 52.
BCU opened the extra session with a defensive stop and Reed hit a 3-pointer to take the early lead.
JU battled back with Colbert hitting a 3-pointer with 3:45 left to put the Dolphins on top, 57-56, with 3:45 left in the game.
The Wildcats scored the next six points, capping the run with a Jerry Jones layup, to take a 62-58 lead with 2:26 remaining.
Trailing by five with 1:20 left, the Dolphins got a 3-pointer from Smith with 56 seconds left to cut the deficit to two.
After a defensive stop, Smith missed a 17-foot pull-up jumper which Aric Brooks tipped out of bounds off a Wildcat. On the final shot, Smith drove the right side of the lane, only to see his layup hit the front of the rim and come up short.
The Dolphins are off until Dec. 29 when they host Troy University. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.