JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University men's basketball had won four in a row against its oldest rival, Stetson, and used a barrage of three-pointers early and free throws late to extend that streak to five, winning 76-69 Wednesday night at Swisher Gym.
"We really kind of fought ourselves tonight," said Head Coach Tony Jasick.
JU hit five of its first six three-pointers to start the game, and the unlikeliest of deep-shot specialists fueled the early run, with two of the first three coming from Devin Harris, his sixth of the season, and senior Antwon Clayton, just the second of his career. JU built out an 11-7 lead at the first media timeout and it appeared headed for a shootout early.
"We tried to space the floor out. We started with Jace Hogan, our mid-range guy. We hit a couple of shots and it kind of spread [out]," said Harris.
While Jacksonville maintained the advantage for much of the first half, the Dolphins never led by more than six, and had just a three-point edge at the half, 36-33.
Stetson's Divine Myles scored an old fashioned three-point play just 2:02 into the second half to give the Hatters its largest lead of the night, 40-38.
Jacksonville used its best offensive stretch of the night to erase the slight deficit, and over the next 6:28 went on a 14-3 run that prompted Stetson to call a timeout when the lead grew to nine for the first time, 52-43.
Out of the timeout, the Hatters cut it to four, 55-51, on a Myles free throw with 8:52 left, but JU again stretched the lead out, this time to double-digits for the only time in the game, when a JD Notae layup made it 61-51 with 6:02 remaining.
Stetson would cut it to one possession just twice the rest of the way, and Jacksonville shot six-for-six at the free throw line in the final minute to ice it.
"We got some stops and were able to convert," said Jasick. "You can't take anything for granted. You have to play to your strengths."
Jacksonville heads on the road this Saturday to Ft. Myers to face conference-leading FGCU at 7 p.m.
- JD Notae scored 21 points, his sixth 20-plus point game of the season. Devin Harris also had 21 points, and Jacksonville improved to 9-3 this season when he scores in double-figures
- Jace Hogan had 17 points of his own, and has now scored double-digit points in 15 of the 17 games he has played in this season
- Jacksonville led for all but 4:32 of the game
- JU matched last year's conference win total, and at 5-1, are in second place heading into Saturday's showdown with first place FGCU
- The 5-1 start continues the Dolphins' best start in ASUN play since the 2010-11 season
"We can win games playing to our strengths. It may not be pretty, but I would certainly rather win our way, than lose somebody else's way."
- Head Coach Tony Jasick