PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Jacksonville University men's basketball team (0-3) played perhaps its toughest opponent to date this season in Grand Canyon (2-1) and showed a renewed intensity, challenging one of the best programs in the WAC despite the result, 76-59.
The Dolphins put four players in double figures for the first time this season, led by JD Notae who quietly dropped 13 while Jalyn Hinton continued his stellar play with 11 points, six rebounds and a pair of blocks off the bench. Tyreese Davis showed signs of his rising starpower with 12 points, six boards, three steals and two blocks and Tanner Rubio provided the spark from deep with 11 points off the pine with a 3-6 mark from long range.
Energy and effort were the mantras of head coach Tony Jasick coming into this contest and that was exactly what the Dolphins gave throughout the first half. The defense was flying around, contesting shots, diving on the floor and forcing turnovers but the offense struggled to find a consistent rhythm.
David Bell found himself in early foul trouble but when the team needed a boost late in the half he checked back in and made an immediate impact, blocking two shots and hammering home a ferocious dunk to flip the momentum back to JU. Rubio knocked down a pair of triples and Davis blocked two shots as well but despite all of that, Grand Canyon took a 41-22 lead into the locker rooms. The biggest difference came on the glass where GCU held a 27-9 advantage at the break.
The GCU lead grew to 24, early in the second half but that's when the Dolphins showed their most fight. They started forcing turnovers and getting out in transition and by the 6:42 mark had cut the deficit to just 14. After some basket trading, Davis got out on the break and converted through contact then made the plus one to get JU within 11 with 4:49 to go but that was as close as they'd come.
GCU came away with the victory but the Dolphins will be taking home renewed confidence. Save for one GCU run midway through the first half, this game was tightly contested, and the Dolphins ended up outscoring the 'Lopes in the second half, 37-35.
The next step in the process will be a trip to Mobile, Ala. where Jacksonville will face three games in three days, the first of which coming opposite Southeast Missouri State on Friday (Nov. 16). That game will be followed up by tilts with host South Alabama (Nov. 17) and Chattanooga (Nov. 18).
Energy and Effort Carries Dolphins Despite Result at Grand Canyon