JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It came down to the final seconds in the matchup between Jacksonville University (11-5) and South Carolina State (3-10), and thanks to two last-second free throws from Tanner Rubio, the Dolphins outlasted the Bulldogs, 89-85, Saturday afternoon at Historic Swisher Gym. The Dolphins have now won 11 games before January 1st for the first time in program history.
"Give South Carolina State a ton of credit," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "They're really well coached. Their players came out and I thought they successfully executed almost everything they tried in the first half and made some big shots. To our guys' credit, we really came out of the locker room in the second half with the right mindset and the right perspective, and we went out and executed some of the things we needed to change in order to give ourselves a chance to win the game today."
The lead changed 13 times throughout the course of the game, with JU taking the final lead with 6:08 to play in the second half.
S.C. State came within one, 86-85, with 11 seconds to go, but Darien Fernandez knocked down a free throw and Rubio put both of his away with 0.4 showing on the clock to keep the Dolphins ahead at the buzzer.
Jacksonville tied the game twice and overtook the Bulldogs twice in the second half, including erasing an eight-point deficit with a 9-2 rally to come within one, 64-63, with 10:03 to play. The visitors increased their lead to three, 66-63, but it was quickly erased when Rubio drained a shot from beyond the arc to knot the game at 66-66.
Holder led JU with 23 points, while Devin Harris (19 points, 4 rebounds), Rubio (18 points), and Fernandez (13 points, 5 rebounds) all finished in double figures.
Tied at 20-20 halfway through the first half, S.C. State managed to keep Jacksonville at bay and lead 46-39 at the half.
The Dolphins continue their four-game home stand Tuesday, January 3 when they play host to Middle Georgia at 7:00 p.m.
- Rubio's 18 points are a career-best. His previous best of 13 came against Florida Memorial.
- Harris's 19 points are also a career-best. His previous best of 17 came at Florida A&M.
- JU improves to 3-1 when winning the opening tip.
- The Dolphins are now 7-1 when the opponent scores first.
- Jacksonville is 10-0 when leading with five minutes left, and 10-0 when leading with two minutes left.