NEWARK, N.J. – Jacksonville University (13-6, 1-1 ASUN) was able to survive three different attempts by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (8-10, 0-2 ASUN) to tie up or win the game in the final eight seconds, allowing the Dolphins to escape the Fleisher Center with an 82-81 victory on Thursday. The win marks the first time Jacksonville has defeated the Highlanders, and the first Dolphin win at NJIT in the two seasons NJIT has been in the ASUN Conference.
"Give our guys a lot of credit. NJIT is a really good team and very good at home," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "I thought we played really well in the first half and then were just able to hang on and make enough plays late to win the game."
Jacksonville picked up right where it left off in the second half, holding the Highlanders scoreless for the first three minutes and 28 seconds. Tracking back to the first half, JU outscored NJIT 11-0 to take a 44-31 lead. Jacksonville led by as much as 14, 64-50, with 8:57 left. But the Highlanders' threes started finding the mark again, and NJIT used several big runs, including a 14-8 run, that put the Highlanders within two points, 81-79, with just six seconds left.
NJIT's Tim Coleman split his two free throws, helping the Dolphins maintain an 81-80 advantage. J.R. Holder went to the line and split his two as well, giving the Dolphins a two-point lead, 82-80, with five seconds left. NJIT's play as the clock expired was unsuccessful, but Jacksonville's Antwon Clayton was called for a technical foul as the buzzer sounded, giving the Highlanders one more shot. Damon Lynn scored his 24th point on the ensuing free throw, and with .8 seconds left on the clock attempted one more three-pointer. His attempt clanged off the backboard, and Jacksonville earned its first win over NJIT, 82-81.
The opening tip went to Jacksonville, but NJIT drew blood first with back-to-back threes. The Highlanders led for the first four minutes, but JU kept chipping away, overtaking NJIT for the first time, 10-9, on a driving layup by Holder. The Highlanders briefly retook the lead twice, but each NJIT jab was met by an answer from Holder, who had 15 points in the first half and 39 in the game. Over the final 11:33 of the half, JU outscored NJIT 20-17, and led 35-31 at the half.
- Before their loss to the Dolphins on Thursday, NJIT was 5-0 at home in the 2016-17 season.
- Holder scored 39 points in the game, a new career best. He made 14 of his 18 field goal attempts, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. The senior from Atlanta, Ga., also had four rebounds and one steal.
- JU earned its sixth road win of the season, the most since the 2010-11 season, when the Dolphins finished 9-9 on the road and 20-12 overall.