SATURDAY, MARCH 19, 2011
Buzzer beating free throws doom JU in CIT
In the most controversial ending in the short history of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, SMU was given a 63-62 win in the second round over Jacksonville at Moody Coliseum.
JU (20-12) had rallied from a 21-point first half deficit and trailed by 17 with 11 minutes to go, only to take the lead with 4.8 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Travis Cohn.
With 0.8 left, SMU’s lob inbound pass from midcourt was caught by Papa Dia – who’s attempt to win the game was swatted from behind by Delwan Graham, sending the Dolphins into celebration.
However, the least experienced of the three officials saw something different.
The referee came from out of the shadows from the corner to call a foul on Graham, giving Dia two free throws that he hit as the Mustangs (19-14) received an early Christmas present. The two points finished Dia’s game-high 24 points and eight rebounds for the Ponies.
“I think everyone here today or watched this game knows who won the game,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “Our guys have fought all year and today was no different. We were down big, but we didn’t give up and fought hard to win the game.”
The 3-pointer looked like it was going to cap a wild second half for Cohn, who scored all 22 of his team leading points in the second half. After missing just one shot in six minutes in the first half, Cohn torched the Mustangs by hitting 8-of-11 from the floor and 4-of-6 from behind the arc.
The late trey gave JU a 62-61 lead and looked as though it would be the fitting end to an epic comeback.
SMU opened the game by hitting 15 of its first 20 shots and used a 14-0 run midway through the first half to build a 31-10 lead with 6:38 left in the first half.
The Dolphins rally started in the final four minutes of the half, cutting the 21-point margin to 14 at the half thanks to a 10-3 run.
JU picked up right where it left off, with Cohn scoring the nine points to get JU within seven, 38-31, with 16:43 left in the game.
The Mustangs answered with a spurt to push the lead to 17, with Collin Magnrum hitting a 3-pointer that looked to be a dagger in the Dolphins comeback hopes with 11:49 left in the game.
Jacksonville wasn’t going away though.
JU scored the next seven points, with Keith McDougald hitting a 3-pointer with 9:53 left to cut it to 10, 48-38. Then trailing by nine with five minutes to go, the Dolphins put together a 13-3 run to take its first lead of the game with 47 seconds left on a Delwan Graham layup off a steal.
SMU retook the lead with 14 seconds left on a 3-point play by Jeremiah Samarrippas, who scored a career-high 16 points for the Mustangs.
That setup Cohn’s heroic 3-pointer in the face of the defender before seeing the referee rip the game right out of the Dolphins hand.
While SMU was 24-of-38 shooting, JU forced 20 turnovers and scored 27 points off those mistakes – a telling stat in the Dolphins comeback efforts.
Cohn led three Dolphins in double figures, with Delwan Graham adding 11 and Keith McDougald getting 12 off the bench.
The disappointing end to JU’s season comes after the second straight 20-win season for the Dolphins, the first time that has happened since 1974.
“I want to thank my players for all their hard work all season. They have done everything we have asked of them – on and off the floor,” Warren said. “Especially our seniors, who gave us four great years.”