MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Despite a furious defensive effort in the final eight minutes of the game, Jacksonville University's men's basketball team (5-3) couldn't complete the comeback against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (3-4) on Wednesday, falling 72-67.
"Give our guys credit for fighting back and making it a game late," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "Ultimately what hampered us the entire game came to get us down the stretch; too many turnovers and too many second chance opportunities defensively."
Milwaukee continued its impressive defensive performance in the early goings of the second half, stretching its lead to as much as 13 points, 35-48, with 13:59 left in the game. But Jacksonville refused to go down quietly. The Dolphins deployed the full court press, and started scrapping back into the competition. Over the next 2:36 Milwaukee couldn't make a bucket, and JU pulled within eight, 50-58. From 7:47 left until just about :59 left, the Dolphins outscored the Panthers 18-11 to pull within three points, 65-68. But turnovers and missed opportunities plagued JU over closing seconds, and Milwaukee hit clutch free throws to put the lead at five points. The final: JU 67, Milwaukee 72
For the seventh time in eight games the Dolphins lost the opening tip, but Devin Harris got the Dolphins on the board first with a driving layup off a Milwaukee turnover. Milwaukee evened up the score just under two minutes into the game, and then the two teams traded runs. JU led by as much as four on a 2:17 scoring drought from the Panthers, and then the Dolphins had a 2-of-9 shooting streak during which Milwaukee took its first lead of the half, 17-15, with 8:28 left.
On the next possession J.R. Holder collected his second foul and had to sit the rest of the half, and the offense struggled a bit with him out. JU closed the half making just four of its final 12 attempts, and allowed a 7-0 run to Milwaukee that put the halftime score at Jacksonville 27, Milwaukee 36.
- Jacksonville is now 0-2 when making fewer than nine free throws. The other loss came at South Alabama, 58-71, on Nov. 20.
- The Dolphins are also 0-2 when shooting less than 70 percent from the line. The other loss came at Air Force, 68-86, on Nov. 14.
- Jacksonville is 0-3 when trailing at the half.
- Holder had his eighth-consecutive game of double-digit scoring. The senior had 19 points.
- Darien Fernandez and Harris also scored in double-figures once again. Fernandez had 14, and Harris had 10.