SATURDAY, MARCH 08, 2008
Men's basketball drops A-Sun title tilt to Belmont

March 8, 2008

Box Score

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The youth of JU men's basketball team faced the experience of Belmont in the finals of the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Championship on Saturday.

The Bruins experience on the biggest stage in the conference showed as the Dolphins fell to a barrage of 3-pointers in their first appearance in a league title game since 1989, 79-61, sending Belmont to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year.

While the ending of the season is disappointing, it is safe to say the Dolphins are back after winning one game two years ago to being one game away from the NCAA Tournament.

"We're disappointed with the result, but we're building a program that contends for championships," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We've come a long way in two years, but we still haven't reached our goal of winning a championship.

"I know our guys are going to use this for motivation for next season to get back to this point."

Belmont hit 13 3-pointers in the game, with Shane Dansby hitting three en route to a game-high 16 points. Matthew Dotson and Justin Hare had two treys apiece on their way to 14 points each, with Alex Renfroe adding 10 points.

JU (18-13) got 13 points from freshman Aric Brooks to lead the Dolphins in scoring. Lehmon Colbert added 11 as they finished as the only two Dolphins in double figures.

Belmont (25-8) used an unselfish team approach in winning the title, dishing out 21 assists on 28 baskets.

The Bruins were unstoppable in the first half, taking the lead early and gradually pulling away to take a 45-23 lead into the intermission.

Belmont hit six 3-pointers in the opening stanza, with five different players hitting one. The Bruins missed only 11 shots in the half, with eight of those being 3-pointers, en route to a 60.7 percent shooting half.

The Dolphins were able to cut the deficit to 19 at one point in the second half, but that was all they could muster against the now three-time champions.

The 18 wins for JU marks the highest total since the 2001-02 season and the Dolphins finished off back-to-back winning season for just the fourth time in the last 20 years. Marcus Allen and Ben Smith finished on the all-tournament team.