Jacksonville Sports Day

JU Dolphins Continue Fast Start, Go 2-0 for First Time Since 2007

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville University men’s basketball team (2-0) never trailed on Saturday afternoon opposite Conference USA foe Southern Miss. (0-1), en route to a 66-51 victory to move to 2-0 for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

Dontarius James was the story on the stat sheet for the Dolphins. The newcomer from Xavier canned a new career-high 21 points on 5-10 shooting and 4-8 from long range to go with eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal. The stat-stuffing effort paced the Dolphins who put four in double figures and shot 45.0 percent from deep.

Joining James in double figures were Bryce Workman, who posted 11 points and seven boards, Diante Wood, who added 11 off the pine and Tyreese Davis, who picked up 10 points and four boards to go with two assists.

Trey Sides was 2-3 from deep to account for his six points and Mo Arnold added six points spread across 38 minutes of court time. Arnold asserted himself late to push the Dolphins over the top when Southern Miss. threatened to erase the deficit midway through the second half.

Jacksonville was outrebounded 49-40 but blocked five shots and created 12 turnovers while getting to the free throw line and converting 19 times, doubling USM’s production. Jacksonville’s held Southern Miss. to just 30.8 percent shooting and 16.7 percent from deep.

Davis got the scoring started with a triple on the wing and the Dolphins never looked back. The first three made field goals for JU were all from long range as they built a 9-0 advantage before USM got on the board. Jacksonville led by as many as 12 in the first half, but the Golden Eagles managed to make a dent and draw within three by the 30 second mark. As the clock ticked inside 15 seconds, Davis drilled a three to give JU a six-point lead, 26-20, at the break.

Jacksonville maintained a cushion throughout the second half but USM pulled to within four with 6:28 to go. Bryce Workman took over from there. He scored seven-straight unanswered points to push his team ahead 54-43 with 4:21 to play. Mo Arnold converted in traffic on the next JU possession to essentially put this one away. The Dolphins made their free throws down the stretch to create the 15-point spread.

The 2020 calendar will turn to December by the time the Dolphins take the floor again. Jacksonville will be in search of its first 3-0 start since that same 2007-08 season when it welcomes Presbyterian to Swisher Gym on Dec. 2. That game is set to tip at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN+.

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