Men's hoops knock off Mercer, 81-75
Russell Powell
Russell Powell
Russell Powell scored a career-high 19 points to lead the Jacksonville men’s basketball team to an 81-75 win over Mercer in Atlantic Sun Conference play on Saturday afternoon.

Powell was one of four Dolphins (7-20, 5-11 A-Sun) in double figures as JU knocked the Bears (20-8, 12-3 A-Sun) out of a tie for first place in the conference schedule.

The Dolphins hit 50 percent from the floor en route to scoring a season-best 81 points. While hitting just five 3-pointers, JU made it to the free throw line 37 times, hitting 28 – with Powell going 9-for-11.

Along with a season-best offensive output, the Dolphins defense blocked seven shots, held Mercer to just 40 percent from the floor and forced 15 turnovers.

“This is a good win,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We did a good job of attacking the basket and hitting our free throws. I thought we did some good things defensively, but we gave up too many second chance opportunities.”

Sporting a two-point halftime lead, Mercer tied the game on the opening possession but an Aloys Cabell 3-pointer to retake the lead sparked a 19-6 run. Jeremy Bogus’ 3-pointer with 14:35 left in the game capped the run and gave JU a 56-43 lead.

After seeing the Bears cut the lead to nine, JU went on a 13-4 run to build a 72-54 lead with 7:39 left on a pair of Shamile Jeffers free throws.

The Dolphins offense struggled over those final seven minutes and Mercer came roaring back, going on a 19-4 run over the next six minutes to cut the defict to three, 76-73, with 1:56 left on a Jakob Gollon 3-pointer.

Needing points and stops, JU got a stop when Bud Thomas’s 3-pointer rimmed out and Cabell hit 1-of-2 free throws to put the Dolphins up four, 77-73 with 24 seconds left.

Langston Hall scored the final two of his game-high 20 points on the next possession to make it 77-75 with 15 seconds remaining.

Powell iced the game for the Dolphins by hitting a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left.

Cabell added 13 points for JU, his 12th straight game in double figures. Glenn Powell had 14 points while Tevin Galvin had 12 points and three blocks. Evin Graham led the Dolphins with a season-best eight rebounds.

After falling behind 7-0 in the opening 90 seconds, JU roared back to take the lead on a Russell Powell jumper with 10:42 left in the half and the Dolphins would eventually take a 37-35 lead at intermission.

The Bears had four players in double figures, with Daniel Coursey adding 16 points while Gollon and Thomas had 10 each. Thomas led the Bears with nine rebounds.

Jacksonville returns to the court on Monday night when they face Kennesaw State in Swisher Gymnasium. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.