JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Five Dolphins scored in double-figures as Jacksonville University (4-7) took down Florida National University (10-5) in an impressive 89-51 win at Swisher Gym on Saturday. JU outscored the Conquistadors 49-19 in the second half.
"I thought the ball moved much freer tonight," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "Our guys took advantage of some opportunities when the ball came their way as the result of some unselfish play by their teammates. It was good to have a week off and have a positive feeling as we left the floor tonight."
Jacksonville embraced Jasick's policy of playing a full 40 minutes by outscoring Florida National 21-6 to open the second half. The Dolphins led 61-36 with 12:17 remaining, and reached a 21-point margin just three minutes later when Damien Sears spin-moved a Conquistador defender and scored on a layup. Jacksonville's lead would continue to swell on a great offensive output from Cody Helgeland, who scored a game-high 18 points on three-pointers, driving layups, and an impressive spin-move that led to a one-handed dunk worthy of #SCTop10. Jacksonville took its largest lead, 38 points, with just 19 seconds left in the game. Jalyn Hinton hit one of two free throws, giving Jacksonville an 89-51 lead. That score would remain as the Conquistadors missed a three as the buzzer sounded.
It was a bit of an eerie start as Jacksonville initiated its "Silent Night" protocol, in which Dolphin fans were asked to remain silent and not cheer until Jacksonville had scored at least 10 points. JU opened the game with a 9-0 run in the first four minutes, looking for the extra pass on the offensive end and suffocating the Conquistadors on defense. Florida National missed eight of its first nine shots and turned the ball over twice.
The clock read 14:33 when Jacksonville finally eclipsed the 10-point margin. Tanner Rubio caught a pass from Helgeland on the nose of the mid-court dolphin logo, and the sophomore from Maitland, Fla., nailed the three, causing Dolphin fans to erupt in cheers. But the Conquistadors came alive when the cheering started, outscoring Jacksonville 8-0 to take a 13-12 lead, its only lead of the game.
Corey Romich snapped that Conquistador run with the first of his four three-pointers, giving Jacksonville back a lead that it would never relinquished. Jacksonville stretched its lead to as much as 14 points in the first half, 40-26, on a transition dunk by Hinton, with three minutes left. But the Conquistadors wrapped the half with a 6-0 run, and JU held only an eight-point game, 40-32, at the half. JD Notae led all scorers in the first half with nine points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
- This was the first time five Dolphins have scored in double figures since five Dolphins scored at least 10 against Fairfield on Nov. 24.
- Hinton (14 pts) and Romich (12 pts) set new career bests in scoring. Hinton was one rebound away from his first double-double.
- Helgeland's 18 points were the most he's scored since the redshirt senior had 22 against Youngstown State on Nov. 18, 2016.
- Notae had his second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He came within four assists of JU's first triple-double since Kip Stone had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists at Texas Pan-American on Jan. 14, 1995.