Dolphins Participate in Basketball Smorgasbord on Thanksgiving Weekend

Dolphins Participate in Basketball Smorgasbord on Thanksgiving Weekend

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In a basketball feast of epic proportions, Jacksonville University will give thanks by participating in the Wright State Tournament this weekend in Dayton, Ohio. The Dolphins (1-3) will play Fairfield (2-1), Wright State (1-3), and Gardner-Webb (1-3) over the three-day tournament at the Nutter Center.

All three games can be seen on ESPN3 and be heard on mixlr.com/judolphins and 1010 XL, the flagship sports radio station of Northeast Florida.

THE LAST TIME OUT - WEBBER INTERNATIONAL

In a game in which the Dolphins never trailed, Jacksonville University earned an 18-point, 88-70 win over Webber International in Historic Swisher Gym on Monday. JU was led by a career-best 23 points from Devin Harris, who also had his second career double-double with 11 boards.

"Wasn't pretty at times," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "We still have a group that needs to get more comfortable and confident playing together. We've got a lot of guys that are thrust into certain roles, and at times it looks smooth. At other times it's as if we're trying to put a round peg in a square hole. We're at the point where we're practicing well, but we need to be able to translate that into the game. We'll get there."

"Tonight, we dialed in," said Harris. "Having Hogan and some of the other leadership out there was great. I didn't really care about it being a career night for me. I just wanted the win. Now we're going to try to snowball this into the next three games over Thanksgiving Break."

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - FAIRFIELD - GAME 5 - FRIDAY, NOV. 24

Video: ESPN3
Audio: mixlr.com/judolphins1010 XL
Broadcaster: Scott Manze (PBP)
Twitter: @JacksonvilleMBB

Series Information

Series Record: First Meeting
Last Meeting:
 N/A
Record at Jacksonville:
 N/A
Record at Fairfield:
 N/A
Record at Neutral Site:
 N/A
Record in OT:
 N/A
Coach Jasick vs. Fairfield:
 N/A

The second of four teams this season that Jacksonville is playing for the first time, Fairfield will face off against the Dolphins to open the Wright State Tournament. Jacksonville is now 147-108 in first-time meetings after beating Webber on Monday. The Stags are 2-1 on the year after beating Penn and Loyola Maryland at home and losing at #19 Purdue. Sydney Johnson has been at the helm of Fairfield since April 2011, and has led the Stags to four winning seasons in his seven years. Johnson came to Fairfield after leading his alma mater, Princeton, for four years. The 11-year head coach has had at least one player earn an all-conference honor each season. The Stags are averaging 69.3 ppg while allowing 76.7, but that defensive number is greatly inflated by the 106 given up to Purdue.

Players to watch:

  • #3 - Senior guard Tyler Nelson - Leads the team in scoring (19.3 ppg) and assists (3.3 apg) and is fourth in rebounding (5.3 rpg). Was second in the MAAC in scoring in 2016-17 and named to the All-MAAC First Team.
  • #23 - Sophomore guard Ferron Flavors Jr. - Tied for second in scoring (10.7 ppg) and second in rebounding (6.3 rpg). Came to Fairfield from South Mountain Community College, where he averaged 17.6 ppg and scored 20 or more 12 times. No relation to Flava-Flav.
  • #14 - Junior forward Matija Milin - 6'9" Serbian that is tied for second in scoring (10.7 ppg) and leads the team in rebounding (6.7 rpg). Started first 15 games in 2016-17, then played a sixth-man role through the rest of the year.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - WRIGHT STATE - GAME 6 - SATURDAY, NOV. 25

Video: ESPN3
Audio: mixlr.com/judolphins1010 XL
Broadcaster: Scott Manze (PBP)
Twitter: @JacksonvilleMBB

Series Information

Series Record: First Meeting
Last Meeting:
 N/A
Record at Jacksonville:
 N/A
Record at Wright State:
 N/A
Record at Neutral Site:
 N/A
Record in OT:
 N/A
Coach Jasick vs. Wright State:
 N/A

The third of four teams this season that Jacksonville is playing for the first time, Wright State is 1-3 on the year. The Raiders (with a wolf mascot) lost at Loyola to open the year, lost in overtime at Miami (Ohio), and lost at home against Murray State before winning at home in a blowout over Tiffin. Scott Nagy is in his second year as head coach of Wright State after leading his team to a 20-win season in 2016-17, the first since 2008. Nagy came from Wright State after 21 years at South Dakota State, and has coached against Jacksonville head coach Tony Jasick many times. Jasick, who was the head coach at IPFW before coming to JU and was an associate head coach at IPFW for several years before that, was a Summit League rival of Nagy. Wright State averages 70.3 ppg while allowing 71.5, and is shooting 42.3 percent from the floor and 29.0 percent from three. Opponents of Wright State are shooting 46.9 percent from the floor and 38.0 percent from three.

Players to watch:

  • #2 - Redshirt freshman guard/forward combo Everett Winchester - Leading the team in scoring (13.0 ppg) and is third in rebounding (5.3 rpg) after sitting out the 2016-17 season. Was a two-time team captain and team MVP at Gilman High School in Baltimore, Maryland, averaging 22.5 ppg as a senior.
  • #13 - Senior guard Grant Benzinger - Second in scoring (12.5 ppg) and leads the team in shooting beyond the arc (33.3 percent). Was a member of the Horizon League Newcomer Team in 2014-15. Traveled to China in the summer of 2017 with Athletes In Action.
  • #1 - Senior guard Justin Mitchell - Averaging 10.7 ppg and 6.3 rpg, Mitchell ranked second in the Horizon League in rebounding in 2016-17. He shot 53.4 percent from the floor the year in 2016-17.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - GARDNER-WEBB - GAME 7 - SUNDAY, NOV. 26

Video: ESPN3
Audio: mixlr.com/judolphins1010 XL
Broadcaster: Scott Manze (PBP)
Twitter: @JacksonvilleMBB

Series Information

Series Record: Jacksonville leads 8-6
Last Meeting:
 12/17/2014 - at Jacksonville, Jacksonville wins 68-65
Record at Jacksonville:
 Jacksonville leads 6-1
Record at Gardner-Webb:
 Gardner-Webb leads 4-1
Record at Neutral Site:
 Tied 1-1
Record in OT:
 N/A
Coach Jasick vs. Gardner-Webb:
 1-0

One of Jasick's first wins at JU, Gardner-Webb and Jacksonville have a storied history. Both programs can lay claim to Naismith Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore, who played at Gardner-Webb in the 1960s while it was still a junior college before transferring to JU and spurring the Dolphins to a 1969-70 NCAA Championship game. Jacksonville holds an 8-6 advantage over the Bulldogs, including a 6-1 mark at home. But the former ASUN member holds bragging rights in Boiling Springs, N.C., with a 4-1 mark over the Dolphins. The two teams are tied 1-1 in neutral site meetings.

This year Gardner-Webb is 1-3 after falling at #12 Miami 45-77, at #7 Florida 74-116, and at UCF 65-68. Their on win on the year came at home against Warren Wilson College, a 119-81 blowout of the Owls. Averaging 75.8 ppg while allowing 85.5 ppg, the Bulldogs are shooting 43.5 percent from the floor and 35.6 from deep while struggling at the line, 64.0 percent. Tim Craft is in his fifth year at Gardner-Webb, leading the Runnin' Bulldogs to 74 wins in his previous four years.

Players to watch:

  • #25 - Junior forward DJ Laster - Averaging 17.5 ppg and 9.8 rpg, Laster is close to a double-double on the year. He averaged 7.9 ppg and 3.7 rpg in 33 games in 2016-17.
  • #11 - Redshirt junior guard David Efianayi - Averages 16.0 ppg and 3.8 boards a game. Named to the 2017-18 Preseason All-Big South Conference team after an honorable mention All-Big South nod in 2016-17, when he averaged 12.6 ppg in 32 games.
  • #5 - Senior guard Liam O'Reilly - Shooting a deadly 56.5 percent from three (13-23), O'Reilly is third on the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and fourth in rebounds per game (3.5 rpg) while dishing out 2.5 assists a game.