THURSDAY, MARCH 01, 2007
Men's hoops upset in A-Sun Quarterfinals

March 1, 2007

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The storybook season for the Jacksonville men's basketball team came to a tragic end as Campbell upset the Dolphins, 90-85, in overtime in the quarterfinals of the General Shale Atlantic Sun Men's Basketball Championship.

The Dolphins (15-14) see their season come to an end after rallying from a nine-point deficit in the final five minutes to force overtime, largely because of Jesse Kimbrough.

The senior put the team on his back in the second half, scoring 14 of his game-high 24 in the second half. In his final game at JU, Kimbrough led the in scoring, dished out six assists, pulled down five rebounds and didn't commit a turnover in 42 minutes of action.

"I'm thankful for these young men and the effort that have given us all season," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "This was a great game tonight, we just came up a little bit short."

The Camels (14-16) rode a big night from Jonathan Rodriguez and Eric Smith to the win. Rodriguez had 21 points and 11 rebounds while Smith had 22 points and four rebounds - including eight points in the overtime session.

Campbell also owned a 45-36 advantage on the glass, pulling down 14 offensive rebounds.

The game turned around halftime. Trailing 36-31, the Camels closed the half on a 13-2 run to take a 44-38 lead into the intermission. Campbell kept the pressure on in the opening minutes of the second half, going on a 7-1 run in the first two minutes to take a 51-39 lead.

Trailing by nine with five minutes left, 72-63, Kimbrough started to pull the Dolphins back into the game. He scored six straight points, got a steal and an assist to complete an 8-0 run that saw the deficit cut to one, 72-71, with 3:06 left in the regulation.

After a pair of Rodriguez free throws, Ben Smith drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:19 left to tie the game at 74 - the Dolphins first tie since 1:25 left in the first half.

The Camels answered with a 3-pointer by Jake Wohlfeil and Rodriguez hit a free throw with 32 seconds left to put Campbell on top 78-74.

On the ensuing possession, Marcus Allen scored inside on a pass from Smith to cut the deficit to two, 78-76. With the full court press working, JU got a turnover as Evan Jefferson took a charge from Eric Smith to give the Dolphins the ball back with 14 seconds left.

Kimbrough went to work, driving into the lane and hitting an off-balanced jumper from eight-feet to send the game into overtime.

The overtime started sluggishly as the two teams traded turnovers until Eric Smith drained a 3-pointer with 3:10 left to put Campbell on top, 81-78.

JU's Lehmon Colbert answered back with another 3-pointer to tie the game with 2:52 left. But Campbell came right back with another Smith 3-pointer to go up 84-81.

The Camels pushed the lead to four, but the Dolphins couldn't get a good look in the final minute as Campbell held on for the win, 90-85.

Colbert scored 15 points in the loss for JU, while Allen had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Smith had 14 for JU to go along with his five assists.

The Camels had four players in double figures as well, with Wohlfield scoring 11 and Kyle Verjraska getting 10.

The loss ends the Dolphins turnaround campaign at 15-14, just the third winning season in the past 10 for JU.

"We've got a lot of young guys and I want them to learn from this experience," Warren said. "This has been a good season and now we're going to start working on building off of this for next season."