JU races past USC Upstate, 79-69
The JU men’s basketball team got off to a hot start and never let up, running past USC Upstate on Sunday at the Hodge Center, 79-69, in Atlantic Sun Conference play.

Four Dolphins (17-8, 11-5 A-Sun) scored in double figures, led by Ayron Hardy’s 15 points. Hardy also led the team in rebounds (7), assists (5) and steals (2).

Jacksonville had its third best shooting game of the season, knocking down 52.8 percent of its shots from the floor.

“We felt like if we could get off to a good start, that we could force the tempo,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We did a good job on defense on limiting their second chances, but we also gave up some second chance opportunities after free throws – which is something we’ll address in the edit this week.”

Jacksonville opened the game by scoring the first six points as Russell Powell and Travis Cohn each hit a 3-pointer in the opening two minutes. From there, JU built a 14-point lead until Tony Dukes half-court heave at the buzzer sent the Dolphins into the locker room up 11, 33-22.

In the second half, JU pushed the lead to 17, 39-22, by scoring the first six points of the second half. Upstate (4-22, 3-13 A-Sun) answered with a 14-3 run over the five minutes to cut JU’s lead to six, 42-36, with 12:13 left in the game.

JU pushed the lead quick back to 11, with Cohn connecting on a pull-up jumper with 11:18 left in the game. The Spartans cut the deficit back to eight, but never got any closer as the Dolphins finished off the win.

Delwan Graham had 14 points, with 12 coming in the second half for JU. Cohn had 13 while Aloys Cabell came off the bench with a career-high 12 points.

Upstate got a game-high 16 points off the bench from Ricardo Glenn, with Torrey Craig adding 14 points and eight rebounds. Josh Chavis had 10 points.

The Dolphins return for their final homestand of the season, starting Friday against Kennesaw State. The doubleheader begins at 5 p.m. with the JU women, with the men’s game set for 7:15 p.m.