DAVIDSON, N.C. – Jacksonville University (9-5) took the fight to Davidson College (6-4) early, leading by as much as six in the second half, but an impressive sharpshooting effort gave the Wildcats a 75-60 win over the Dolphins Wednesday night in the John M. Belk Arena.
"Pretty good first half of containing Davidson. They're a highly efficient offensive team, and we did a good job of making them play against a set defense for most of the first half. In the second half we got a little tentative on the offensive end, which led to some 'pick six' turnovers. It also led to them being able to play against a defense in transition, which they're really good against. Unfortunately, that's the way the second half went for us," said Head Coach Tony Jasick.
Jacksonville started the second half off well, taking a six-point lead off of back-to-back three pointers from Darien Fernandez. The Dolphins led for the first six minutes of the half, but Davidson's offense again found its rhythm in the final 13-plus minutes. Three three-pointers and a driving layup fueled an 11-0 run by the Wildcats to give Davidson a 43-38 lead; Jacksonville missed six shots and turned over the ball three times over that same period. Two free throws from Cody Helgeland stimmed the tide, but Davidson used a 7-0 run to put the lead to double digits. The Wildcats led by as much as 22 points, 69-47, with just under five minutes left. Darius Dawkins and Tanner Rubio hit threes in the waning minutes to get the Dolphins rolling again, but the margin was a bit too much to overcome. The final: Davidson 75, Jacksonville 60
For just the second time in 14 games, Jacksonville won the opening tip. Davidson drew blood first though, scoring on two free throws from Jack Gibbs. J.R. Holder evened it up at 2-2 on the next possession, and following a three from Gibbs on the other end, Cody Helgeland hit from well beyond the arc to tie the game again at 5-5. The Wildcats started clicking offensively around four minutes into the half, stringing together a 10-3 run that included Peyton Aldridge's 1,000th career point. With 12:20 left, Davidson led by 7 points, 15-8.
Coach Jasick made a few adjustments, and big contributions off the bench from Rubio, Dawkins, and Demontrez Austin helped Jacksonville start to chip away. From the 7:11 mark until the 3:11 mark the Dolphins outscored the Wildcats 14-4, taking the lead for the first time. A deep Rubio three with the shot clock expiring gave JU its largest lead, 32-28, with 2:12 left. But Jacksonville missed its final three shots, and Davidson was able to tie up the game at the half, 32-32.
Jacksonville returns to Historic Swisher Gym next Wednesday to kickoff a four-game homestand. The Dolphins will host Thomas University on December 28, South Carolina State on December 31, Middle Georgia State on January 3, and the University of North Florida on January 7.
- Helgeland continued his impressive performance at the penalty stripe. The junior from Toccoa, Ga., has missed just twice in 31 attempts this season, and leads the ASUN in free throw percentage.
- Dawkins has now hit at least three three-pointers in each of the last six games. He now has 32 three-pointers in the year, and 102 made threes in his career.
- The Dolphins drop to 1-4 when scoring under 70 points, and 3-5 when allowing opponents to score more than 70.