THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 2007
Men's basketball picks up 64-59 at Gardner-Webb

Jan. 25, 2007

Final Stats

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - With the offense out of rhythm, the crowd behind the opponent and red-hot shooting senior, the JU men's basketball team was able to battle through everything to pull out a 64-59 win over Gardner-Webb in Atlantic Sun Conference play on Thursday night at Porter Arena.

Jacksonville (10-10, 6-4 A-Sun) won its third straight despite hitting just 5-of-11 at the free throw line. Lehmon Colbert led the Dolphins with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Gardner-Webb (5-15, 3-6 A-Sun) never went away, cutting the 12-point halftime lead to three at several times in the second half. Chris Gash had 26 points, but missed a 3-pointer to tie with three seconds left, giving the Dolphins the win.

"This was a good win, a really good win," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "We did a good job on that last possession of switching on the screen and we're very fortunate to get out of here with a win."

The Dolphins owned the first half, holding Gardner-Webb to just three points over the final six minutes - turning a tie game at 26 into a 41-29 lead in the locker room at the intermission.

That first half saw JU playing solid basketball - hitting more than half of their shots, rebounding well (holding an eight rebound advantage) and playing solid defense.

The second half saw the Bulldogs slowly whittle at the lead. JU pushed the lead to 13 in the first minute of the second half, but the Bulldogs began their long climb back.

Gardner-Webb cut the lead to eight, 49-41, with 12:49 left, and got it down to three, 51-48, for the first time with 10:25 left in the game.

But JU was able to answer every run and silence the crowd. Ben Smith hit a 3-pointer to turn away the first run, Marcus Allen drove the baseline for a layup to thwart the second run with seven minutes left in the game.

Jesse Kimbrough, the Dolphins leading scorer who struggled to get into the offensive flow, made two big shots late - including a 15-footer with 3:07 left to put the Dolphins back up by eight, 61-53.

The Bulldogs had one last run, cutting the lead to three on a 3-pointer by Gash and a pair of free throws by Matt French.

With 20 second left in the game, Smith drove towards the basket and threw a shot up as the shot clock expired - but was called for traveling, negating the layup and giving the Bulldogs one last chance.

After a timeout, the Bulldogs setup a pick-and-roll for Gash to shoot a three. The Dolphins switched off the screen with Smith contesting the shot that came up short on Gash's ninth 3-point attempt of the night - with Colbert pulling down the rebound, hitting two free throws to seal the win.

Allen had 12 points to be the only other Dolphin to finish in double figures. Tyrone Curnell had six points and a team-high nine rebounds to JU as well. All nine guys that played for JU scored.

Gardner-Webb got 15 points and 10 rebounds from Thomas Sanders to help Gash, who had five 3-pointers.

The Dolphins wrap up their road trip on Saturday at Campbell. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.