JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – All 12 active players scored for Jacksonville University men's basketball on Tuesday night, the biggest indicator of the total team effort that defined the Dolphins 105-48 win over Trinity Baptist at Swisher Gym.
Perhaps the aspect that will define this team the most heading into ASUN Conference play this weekend, however, was the return of two starters to the lineup that made their impact felt immediately.
Junior forward Jace Hogan, Jacksonville's leading scorer on the year, returned after missing the previous four games with an injury, and senior forward Antwon Clayton saw his first action of the regular season, finally returning from a thumb injury that cost him almost the entire first half of the year.
"It was good to see Antwon and Jace out there, just changed the whole dynamic of our team," said Head Coach Tony Jasick.
The beginning of the game illustrated their impact perfectly, as Clayton went to the deck for a loose ball and ended up assisting the first basket of the night to Hogan from his back. The layup was the first of five made field goals for Hogan, who came in averaging 17.6 points per game. He finished with 10 points in 11 minutes.
Clayton made one free throw for his lone point of the evening, but in a classic effort, stuffed the stat sheet and contributed on several other plays that will not be recorded statistically. Clayton played 17 minutes in his 2017-18 debut, and finished with five rebounds, an assist and a block.
"Hopefully they can continue to get to 100 percent, they are not quite there yet, because I think they change our team," said Jasick.
Bolstered by the returns of Hogan and Clayton, Jacksonville closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule and opened up 2018 with a win, thanks to six players scoring in double figures and forcing a season high 26 turnovers.
After Hogan scored the first two of the night, JU built a double-digit lead by the first media timeout and never looked back, pushing the advantage to 31, 53-22, at the half. Senior forward Cody Helegland was one of three Dolphins in double figures at the break, and finished with a season high 20 points on 7-10 shooting and five made threes.
"I think [a game like this] gets everyone feeling good. It's good to see balls go in," said Helgeland.
Jacksonville kept up the defensive effort in the second half, and that was with reserves playing much of the second frame. Sophomore guard Lee Richmond had two steals immediately after checking in and turned them into easy points, part of his career high 11 and JU's season high 36 points off turnovers.
Now, the Dolphins are ready to turn attention over to the River City Rumble, and a conference opening matchup against crosstown rival North Florida on Saturday night.
- Freshman forward Jalyn Hinton recorded his first career double-double, scoring 16 points on 7-11 shooting and adding 10 rebounds. It was the fourth double figure scoring game for Hinton, and his third double-digit rebounding effort.
- Hinton's double-double was the 11th of the season for a Dolphin.
- The second time the Dolphins have topped the century mark this year, and the first in both regulation and at home. Jacksonville defeated Gardner-Webb in Dayton, Ohio 106-99 in 3OT on November 26. JU also scored over 100 twice last season.
- Six is most double figure scorers Jacksonville has had in a game this season. Previously, JU had five score in double digits twice this season.
- 56 points in the paint and 27 fast break points are both season highs.
"Roles are going to change again, and that's going to be a process, but you feel much better when you have a few more bullets in your gun like we do now with Antwon and Jace being back,"
- Head Coach Tony Jasick