Men's basketball returns to the hardwood on Friday

Dec. 28, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Christmas vacation has ended for the JU men's basketball team as the Dolphins hit the road for their final non-conference game against South Carolina on Friday.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised on a tape delay basis on Comcast Sports Southeast (airing at 10 p.m.).

The Dolphins (4-7) have been back in town since Christmas night, going through conditioning drills and practice to get back into shape after the holidays. It's been 10 days since their last game, but the Dolphins are eager to return to the court.

"It's been a while since we've played and everyone has come back refreshed with a positive attitude about the rest of the season," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "As young as we are, this break has beneficial for us to go work on some of the things that have hurt us in the past few games."

JU is coming off a 93-77 loss at Georgia on Dec. 19. Despite falling by 16, the Dolphins showed flashes of their potential - holding a 12-point lead with eight minutes to go in the first half, cutting a 21-point lead to nine in second half, getting 16 offensive rebounds and converting for 19 second chance points.

"We did a lot of good things against Georgia, but we didn't play for the entire 40 minutes," Warren said. "The last eight minutes of the first half, we were not executing on offense like we had for the first 12."

Another bright spot was the play of the JU freshmen. Five of the youngsters saw more than 10 minutes of action, with Lehmon Colbert and Tyrone Curnell scoring in double figures.

Colbert tallied a team-high 18 points while Curnell came off the bench for 15. The remaining three freshmen - Ben Smith, Derek Duggins and Corey Claitt - chipped in for the freshmen to score 59 of JU's 77 points.

It is the sixth time in the last seven games that Colbert has scored in double figures for the Dolphins as he has jumped to third on the team in scoring, averaging 11.1 points per game.