DAYTON, OHIO – After setting a career high of 23 points in Jacksonville University's win over Webber International on Monday, Devin Harris one-upped himself Friday night in the Dolphins' 92-84 victory over Fairfield in the opening game of the Wright State Tournament. Harris had 24 points and 10 rebounds, his second consecutive and third career double-double.
"Good effort by our guys today. I'm really proud of how they handled some adversity in the second half," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "Give Fairfield credit. They really raised their energy level and their pressure in the second half. We were just okay against it, so that's something we need to improve upon, but a pretty good way to start the weekend."
Jacksonville's lead reached its highest margin, 22 points, almost two minutes into the second half, when Harris drained two free throws after drawing a foul. Jacksonville led 63-41 with 18:04 to go. But the Dolphin offense began to struggle a bit after that, failing to score on the next seven possessions as Wright State put together a 7-0 run to pull within 14, 63-49, with about 15 minutes left. A Cody Helgeland three stretched that lead back to 17, 66-49, but Fairfield responded with a three on the other end, pulling within 14 again, 66-52. A 13-5 Fairfield run over the next five minutes trimmed the margin even further, down to just six points, 71-65, with 9:01 left.
Jace Hogan snapped that Fairfield run with a driving 12-foot jumper, and the junior transfer from the United States Naval Academy hit two more buckets to give Jacksonville its own 6-0 run. Hogan finished the game with 22 points and nine boards. With 6:49 left, Jacksonville again led by 14, 79-65.
But Fairfield continued to be pesky, forcing turnovers and fouling the Dolphins instead of allowing JU to drive to the basket. After making its first eight free throw attempts, JU missed five of its next 10 shots at the line, and the Stags outscored the Dolphins 17-9. The clock reading 1:41, Jacksonville held a tenuous four-point lead, 86-82.
Free throws down the stretch helped Jacksonville keep its lead though, with Harris nailing four of his six opportunities. The redshirt senior transfer from East Tennessee State helped JU hold Fairfield at arms-length the rest of the game, and the Dolphins took Game 1 of the Wright State Tournament, 92-84.
Good defense leading to good offense was the theme in the opening half of the Wright State Tournament. Radwan Bakkali snagged the opening tip, and from that time forward Jacksonville was running on all gears. The Dolphins scored on three of its first four possessions to take an early 6-2 lead, and led 13-4 at the first media stoppage. Fairfield chipped away at that margin over the next few minutes, climbing back within six, 13-7, with a three, but Notae scored eight straight on his, putting JU up 14, 21-7, with 12:43 left in the half. Fairfield pulled within 10 on consecutive transition baskets, but threes from Corey Romich and Helgeland sandwiched around a Bakkali tip-in put the Dolphins on an 8-0 run, giving Jacksonville a 15-point lead, 29-14, with 9:12 left.
The lead continued to balloon for Jacksonville in the half, with double-digit contributions from Notae (14), Harris (13), and Tanner Rubio (11) in just the first 20 minutes. After a buzzer-beating three from Helgeland, the Dolphins led by 21, 58-37, at the half.
- Five Dolphins scored in double figures. Harris had 24, followed by Hogan (22), Notae (14), Rubio (14), and Helgeland (11). This marks the first time five Dolphins have scored at least 10 points in a game since Jan. 3, 2017, when Jacksonville defeated Middle Georgia State 124-85.
- Hogan and Notae both came close to double-doubles themselves, with Hogan totaling nine boards and Notae pulling down seven.
- After totaling three double-doubles in all of the 2016-17 season, Jacksonville already has three double-doubles so far this season. Hogan had 24 points and 11 boards in his Dolphin debut against NC A&T, then Harris has had consecutive double-doubles in the last two games (23 & 11 against Webber and 24 & 10 against Fairfield).