DELAND, Fla. – Trailing 67-66 with 4.5 seconds left and its starting point guard on the bench with an injury, Jacksonville University men's basketball turned to its dynamic freshman guard JD Notae to win it. He drew a foul shooting a three with a half second left, and calmly knocked down the first two free throws to give JU a 68-67 win over Stetson in the Edmunds Center Monday night.
"One thing we talk about late is we have dribbles. If we had a clean look shoot it, if not, shot fake and just see what happens," said Head Coach Tony Jasick.
"We were very, very fortunate to get out of here with a win tonight."
Jacksonville jumped all over Stetson in the early going, scoring the first nine points and forcing the Hatters to call a timeout after JU built its lead to 13-2 just 3:48 into the game.
Stetson scored nine of the next 11 out of the timeout, and quickly established that the game would be about runs. Stretches of 13-2, 9-2 and 8-0 scoring were seen in the first half alone, but despite the streakiness, JU was able to keep SU at arms length most of the way, leading the entire first half and going into the break up 37-30.
Stetson used an 11-5 run out of the half to take its first lead of the night, 44-42, with 13:31 left in the second. After JU tied it back up, Stetson hit a layup and a free throw to build its largest lead of the evening, 47-44, with 12:19 remaining.
Then the Dolphins found a spurt of its own, rattling off 12 straight to go back up by double-digits, 57-47 with 8:31 on the clock. The lead came with a price, however, as Devin Harris stole a pass and went skying for a dunk, but was fouled hard by SU's Larry Dennis. Harris landed awkwardly on his right hip, and was unable to return to the game.
"He was up and moving around," said Jasick.
"Let's just hope he's ok and can bounce back in a couple of days."
Another one-sided scoring stretch, this time 10-3 in favor of Stetson, brought the Hatters back within one possession, 60-57, with 4:01 left. From there, it was a free throw show, with both teams only making one field goal each the rest of the way.
Stetson's last jumper came with 4.5 seconds left, as Luke Doyle banked in a three at the top of the key. Then, Notae had his moment.
"I know my teammates have confidence in me. I was just thinking, why not go up there and knock them down," said the freshman from Covington, Ga.
After Notae missed the last free throw on purpose, Leo Goodman could only grab the rebound and heave it overhand. His full court attempt was well off the mark, and Jacksonville escaped to start the second half of league play with a win and improve to 6-2 in the ASUN.
Jacksonville returns to action this Saturday in a showdown with ASUN leading Florida Gulf Coast (8-0) at 6 p.m. in Swisher Gym.
- Notae led the team in scoring with 20 points. It was his seventh game this year with 20 or more points
- Jace Hogan (14), Harris (14) and Jalyn Hinton (12) joined Notae in double-figures
- Harris also had a team-high 10 rebounds; his third double-double of the season. It was JU's 13th double-double as a team this season
- Jacksonville swept Stetson for the third year in a row, and has won six straight in the series. It matches the Dolphins longest winning streak against its oldest opponent
- At 6-2 in the conference, JU is still in sole possession of second place in the ASUN
- JU finished January 7-2, its best month by winning percentage since the Dolphins went 4-1 in Nov. 2010
"We can't lose this game, that's all that was going through my mind."
- JD Notae on what he was thinking about leading up to his game winning free throws