SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Jacksonville's comeback kids had made a habit of erasing second half deficits to win games in league play. Tonight, the rally fell just short, as Jacksonville University men's basketball fell to USC Upstate 91-85 Thursday night in the Hodge Center.
"You've got to understand the scouting report, you've got to understand defending and you've got to play with great urgency, especially on the road, and we certainly didn't tonight," said Head Coach Tony Jasick.
After a slow start, both teams progressively heated up offensively, trading baskets and the lead throughout the first half. Jacksonville was able to solve the matchup zone the Spartans threw at them enough to score 34 in the first half, 12 of which came from freshman Jalyn Hinton, who led all scorers with 12 at the break on a variety of dunks and layups.
At halftime, it was tied at 34 and seemed destined for a photo finish.
The second began the way the first half ended, but with even greater pace and fury, and of course, made shots. Both teams matched its first half scoring effort with 7:55 to go in the second, and continued to swap advantage back and forth. The lead changed 19 times, was tied 13 times and neither team led by more than six for the majority of the game.
After the under-eight timeout, USC Upstate used a 15-5 run over the next 4:03 to finally grab advantage, 83-73.
Jacksonville had one final run in them, cutting it from 10 to three with 51 seconds left on two free throws and a layup from senior Cody Helgeland and a JD Notae three in three consecutive possessions to make the score 88-85 with 50.5 seconds remaining.
Mike Cunningham hit another three, one of 11 in the game for USC Upstate, on the ensuing possession with 24 seconds left to make it 91-85, and JU could get no closer.
"If you want to make any progress throughout league play, then you have to take away other team's strengths, and we clearly did not do that tonight," said Jasick.
Jacksonville stays on the road to face NJIT at the Wellness and Events Center in Newark, N.J. on Saturday at 4 p.m.
- Jacksonville was led by junior Jace Hogan, who scored 19 points, for his 13th double-digit scoring effort this season. Joining him in in double-figures were senior Devin Harris, Helgeland and Hinton, who all had 16.
- Over 50 percent of Jacksonville's points came in the paint for the third time in four ASUN games this year. JU had 46 paint points; 54 percent of its total points tonight.
- The 51 points scored in the second half by the Dolphins was the third highest scoring half this season. The only two higher were 58 in the first half vs. Fairfield on Nov. 24 and 52 vs. Trinity Baptist in the second half on Jan. 2.
- With JU's ASUN Conference record now 3-1, they are in sole possession of second place, trailing only FGCU, who is 4-0.
"We've got another one on Saturday that we've got to prepare for tomorrow, and hopefully we can bounce back and have a better effort on both ends of the floor."
-Head Coach Tony Jasick on the radio postgame show after the game