Jacksonville Sports Day

JU: Arnold, Nolan Carry Jacksonville to Sweep of Kennesaw State

KENNESAW, Ga. – The Jacksonville University men’s basketball team (8-4, 2-0 ASUN) collected a sweep of Kennesaw State (3-7, 0-2 ASUN) to open ASUN play and did so in come-from-behind fashion for the second time in as many days, 72-66, thanks to sterling performances from Mo Arnold, Kevion Nolan and Bryce Workman.

Nolan scored 23 points on 9-14 shooting to go with five rebounds and five assists, giving him 55 points across the two contests with the Owls.

He scored seven points, including the game-clinching triple, and handed two assists over the final four minutes to lead JU back from a four-point deficit.

Arnold collected a career-best 22 points on 9-11 shooting and 2-3 from deep while Workman secured his first double-double of the season, 18 points, 11 rebounds with three assists of his own. It’s the second double-double of Workman’s career (11/08/19 vs. Johnson, 15/10).

Arnold, Nolan and Workman accounted for 63 of the Dolphins’ 72 points. Tyreese Davis and Trey Sides scored the other nine with four and five points, respectively.

Sides had three rebounds and two steals while Davis contributed two boards, two assists a steal and a block to the effort. Davis was +20 in the +/- column despite a slow night offensively. Corey Romich chipped in a career-best three steals.

Jacksonville led by as many as 12 on multiple occasions but an 18-0 run for the Owls in the second half forced JU into scramble mode despite shooting an electric 56.0 percent from the floor (28-50).

That’s the second-best field goal percentage for the Dolphins this season and the best against a Division I opponent. Jacksonville shot 69.6 percent (16-23) in the first half to build a six-point advantage at the break.

Arnold scored 13 of his 22 in that first half on 5-5 shooting while Workman had 12 on 5-7. The Dolphins were 3-5 from long range and 6-7 from the free throw line to build that early advantage. For the second night in a row, by games-end the Dolphins dominate the paint but in the first half the advantage was stark, 22-8. The final tally was 40-20 down low.

Workman knocked down a pair of free throws with 10:26 to play in the game to push JU ahead by 12 for the last time. Kennesaw State began its extended 18-0 run at that point to move ahead, 63-57, with 4:52 to go. Nolan took a feed at the top of the lane and drove direct to the tin to put a stop to that run.

Kennesaw State made free throws to move ahead by six, 65-59, with 4:11 to play and only scored one point the rest of the way. Workman finished a feed from Nolan at the 3:51 mark, Davis converted a driving lay-in with 3:01 left and Nolan capitalized on a KSU turnover to tie the game with 1:43 to play.

As the clock dipped below the one-minute mark, Workman corralled an offensive rebound and the Dolphins scrambled. The ball eventually found Arnold wide open underneath for an easy score to put JU ahead once again. Kennesaw State answered with a free throw.

With the Dolphins ahead by one, just 13 seconds to play and only a couple of seconds on the shot clock, Workman fed an inbound pass to Davis who hit Nolan who fired up a 27-footer that found its mark in dramatic fashion as the buzzer rang out.

That bucket pushed the Dolphins ahead by four and that proved to be enough. Nolan made a pair of free throws at the end to create the final spread in this one.

It’ll be two weeks for rest for Jacksonville after a pair of dramatic come-from-behind victories on the road.

The next time the Dolphins take the floor will be at home for the first time since Dec. 10 and they’ll welcome North Florida on Jan. 15 & 16 for both rounds of the 2021 edition of the River City Rumble.

Those games will tip off at 7 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, and will air on ESPN+.

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