FT. MYERS, Fla. – Jacksonville University men's basketball took the preseason ASUN Conference favorites down to the wire on the road, but fell to Florida Gulf Coast 68-62 Saturday night at Alico Arena.
The Dolphins rallied and took the lead with 3:19 remaining after trailing by as many as 11 in the second half, but could not close out FGCU.
"I thought we were able to do some good things in the second half, but as the game wore on, our inability to keep [the ball] in front just killed us," said Head Coach Tony Jasick.
After a slow start offensively for both teams, it was a back and forth affair for much of the first half. Jace Hogan hit his third three-pointer of the year in five attempts as part of 11 first half points, but was limited to just 11 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. In all, three Jacksonville starters had to sit for a combined 23 minutes with foul issues, as JU was whistled for nine first half fouls to FGCU's three.
The Eagles took advantage of the absence of several key Dolphins to go on an 11-2 run to end the half leading by nine, 35-26.
FGCU matched JU shot for shot to start the second, and it was not until Jacksonville switched to a 2-3 zone defensively with 11:54 left that the Dolphins started to make some headway. Forcing back-to-back shot clock violations, and mixing in a Jalyn Hinton dunk brought JU within five. Then, Antwon Clayton stole an errant pass at mid court and finished a lob from Devin Harris with a thunderous dunk to bring JU within three, 50-47, with 9:46 remaining.
However, Clayton was called for a technical for hanging on to the rim too long. FGCU made the technical free throw and scored the next eight to stretch the lead to the Eagles' largest advantage of the evening, 58-47, with 7:47 left.
Out of a timeout, Jacksonville went on a 15-2 run, fueled by nine straight points from JD Notae, to rally to the lead, 62-60 with 3:19 left. Brandon Goodwin tied it up one possession later and after both team had a multiple of empty possessions, Christian Terrell hit a layup to put FGCU back in front for good.
"We're awfully close, but we're light years away if we won't commit to guarding the basketball," said Jasick.
With the loss, Jacksonville falls to 5-2 in the ASUN, still maintaining sole possession of second place at the halfway point of the conference season. Jacksonville returns to action Monday night facing Stetson for the second time in five days. The game tips at 7 p.m. at the Edmunds Center in DeLand, Fla.
- Jace Hogan had 23 points to lead all scorers. It was the eighth game that the junior Naval Academy transfer has led the team in scoring, and his sixth 20-plus point outing this season.
- Jacksonville held FGCU to 68 points; the fifth time in seven ASUN Conference games the defense has limited an opponent to less than 70. JU's record when doing so fell to 4-1.
- FGCU shot just 1-9 from behind the arc, or 11 percent. Both teams combined to shoot 3-27 from deep.
- JU forced 16 FGCU turnovers and committed jut eight of its own. The Dolphins turned those 16 giveaways into 20 points.
"If we can commit to guarding the basketball on the defensive end, I think this team has a chance to make some progress over the next five weeks."
- Head Coach Tony Jasick on what the team will take from the loss