JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s been a date many have been looking forward to since the Jacksonville University men’s basketball team announced its 2013-14 schedule. Now it’s finally here. On Monday night at 7 p.m., the Dolphins play host to the #16/14 Florida Gators at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The game will be televised on Fox Sports South and ESPN3. ASun.TV will also have a live stream, and Scott Manze and Artis Gilmore will have the call on 92.5 FM.
The Dolphins are looking to build upon a solid effort on Saturday as they came away with a 76-72 win over Florida A&M to improve to 2-3 on the season. The JU bench was once again a huge factor, with all four reserves that saw the floor scoring at least eight points, led by Marcel White who had a team-high 16. Tyler Alderman added 13 and six rebounds, while Jarvis Haywood had 10 points and nine boards in the victory.
Haywood has not only been a focal point of the offense, but his efficiency has made him tough to stop. Shooting .523 from the field so far on the year and averaging over 15 points, the sophomore has shown an expanded range from outside the arc where he is 4-of-11, and been consistent from the foul line where he’s made 11-of-14 attempts. He and point guard Vince Martin have also led a defense that tops the Atlantic Sun in steals at 7.4 per game.
The Dolphins will need one of their best defensive efforts against a highly-regarded Florida club. JU has allowed 72 points in each of its two victories this season, but given up at least 87 in its three losses. Though the Gators haven’t hit all cylinders yet this season due to injuries and suspension, they’re unlikely to play into Jacksonville’s hands, averaging only 10.8 turnovers per contest. Casey Prather leads the way for Florida, scoring at a 17.6 points per game clip and adding in 6.2 rebounds.
One storyline receiving a lot of attention as the game draws near is the return of Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin. The senior point guard returns at a fortuitous time for the Gators as freshman Kasey Hill went down last week with an ankle sprain that will keep him out of the lineup on Monday. Last year as a junior, Wilbekin averaged over nine points a game on the UF Elite Eight squad.
Tickets for Monday’s game are still available for sale through Ticketmaster. The Dolphins wrap up a three-game home stand on Dec. 3 when they take on the Trinity Baptist Eagles from Swisher Gym at 7 p.m.