DAYTON, OHIO – Reaching three overtimes for the first time since 2013, Jacksonville University won a nail-biter over former ASUN Conference foe Gardner-Webb University 106-99 Sunday in Dolphin basketball's final game of the Wright State Thanksgiving Tournament. The win improves JU's record to 3-4 on the year, and drops Gardner-Webb to 2-6. The Dolphins now lead Artis Gilmore's other former school 9-6 in the all-time series.
Jace Hogan had a career best 29 points and his second career double-double with 10 boards. Devin Harris scored a career-best 25 with nine boards, eight assists, and four steals, and JD Notae had his first career double-double with 17 points and 10 boards, also totaling four assists, three steals, and a block. Cody Helgeland played a career-best 54 minutes and scored 17 points, shooting 5-11 from beyond the arc.
"As a coach it wears you out playing a game like this, but I couldn't be prouder of their effort. There are some things we need to work on, but our guys want to win. The character of our team today was pretty darn good." said Head Coach Tony Jasick.
Notae scored the first five points of the first extra period, giving JU an 81-78 lead with 3:15 left. The Dolphins missed their next four shots, but Hogan hit a put-back on a missed three to give JU an 83-80 cushion with 42 seconds. The Bulldogs nailed a three with 17 seconds to go to tie the game, and the Dolphins missed a three from 29 feet out as the clock expired.
Hogan gave JU the lead in the second overtime, 85-83, on two freebies, and a transition dunk by Jalyn Hinton after the freshman blocked a three-point attempt gave Jacksonville a four-point lead, 87-83, with about two minutes to go. But Jacksonville missed its next four shots as Gardner-Webb hit three free throws and a tip-in to take an 88-87 lead. Harris hit one of two shots at the penalty stripe to tie the game 88-88, then Hogan stole the ball and passed forward to Harris in transition. Harris was fouled, but missed both shots at the stripe. At the end of two overtimes, the score was tied 88-88.
Jacksonville took the lead quickly in the third OT, scoring on a lob dunk from Notae to Hinton less than 15 seconds after the Dolphins won the tip. Gardner-Webb tied it up 90-90 a few seconds later, but Helgeland nailed a three with two hands in his face to give JU a 93-90 lead with four to go. The Dolphins and Bulldogs traded baskets a few more times before Jacksonville took the lead for good, 97-95, on a jumper by Hogan. The Dolphins reached 100 points when Harris kissed a driving layup off the glass and drew a foul. The redshirt senior hit five of his final seven shots from the penalty stripe, and Jacksonville left the Nutter Center with a 106-99 win.
Gardner-Webb carried over its 57.1 percent shooting in the first half over to the beginning of the second, hitting its first five shots. The Runnin' Bulldogs led by nine, 50-41, about four minutes into the period. But the Jacksonville defense locked in over the next 11 minutes; forcing Gardner-Webb to miss 15 of its next 17 shots and score just five points. Jacksonville went on a 30-5 run during that time, leading 71-60 with 2:20 left on the clock.
Yet Gardner-Webb refused to go away. The Bulldogs hit contested threes on consecutive possessions to pull within five, 71-66, then snagged two offensive rebounds and hit a tip-in on the third attempt, pulling within five again, 73-68. Another contested three pulled it within two, 73-71, with just 20 seconds to go, and after Notae hit two free throws with 19 seconds, the Bulldogs hit a final contested three to pull within one, 75-74. Tanner Rubio split two free throws with just 10 seconds on the clock, and Gardner-Webb tied the game as the clock expired on a reverse layup.
Though the two teams finished the half with shooting percentages over 40 percent from the floor, JU and Gardner-Webb struggled mightily in the early going. Jacksonville missed its first two shots and turned the ball over on the third possession, and Gardner-Webb missed its first five shots and turned it over on the sixth possession. Helgeland got the scoring started with a three from the top of the key, and a bucket from Radwan Bakkali gave Jacksonville a 5-0 lead about three minutes in. Gardner failed to score its first basket until about four minutes in, a driving layup that cut JU's lead to 5-2.
Buckets from Hogan and Notae extended Jacksonville's lead back to five points, 9-4, with 14:48 remaining, but the Dolphin offense cooled as Gardner-Webb started to heat up; the Bulldogs hit three transition baskets to go up 10-9 with just about 12 minutes left on the clock. Helgeland ended that run with another top-of-the-key three to put Jacksonville back up, and the two teams traded runs for the rest of the half. Gardner led by as much as five, 27-22, with six minutes to go, and Jacksonville stormed back to lead by two, 34-32, with 2:33 on the clock. After Gardner-Webb tied the game at 34-34 on a fast break, Hogan hit a jumper to give Jacksonville a 36-34 lead with 48 seconds. But the Bulldogs nailed a three-pointer as the clock expired, taking a one-point, 37-36 lead into the halftime locker room.