Jacksonville Sports Day

Jacksonville Comes Back from Large Deficit in Loss to North Florida

JACKSONVILLE – The 2021 edition of the River City Rumble lived up to its namesake, producing two classic additions to the rivalry, culminating on a near historic comeback for the Jacksonville University men’s basketball team (9-5, 3-1 ASUN) on Saturday evening.

North Florida (3-9, 1-1 ASUN) escaped with a 70-68 victory, after nearly surrendering a 22-point, second half lead to the Dolphins.

Dontarius James had himself a weekend. The junior scored 30 points again on Saturday, matching his career-best 30-point output on Friday night.

This time he added eight rebounds a pair of blocks and steal while going 8-8 from the free throw line. James averaged 30.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks, made 15 of 16 free throws and shot 22-46 (47.8%) from the floor.

Meanwhile, Kevion Nolan bagged 18 more points to go with five rebounds and a new career-high seven assists while coming away with three steals. Combined, Nolan and James scored 95 of the Dolphins 134 points across two games against the Ospreys.

For the second night in-a-row, Bryce Workman added 10 points while Tyreese Davis chipped in eight points. Mo Arnold contributed three assists and three more steals. Trey Sides had two points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Corey Romich added five boards.

Jacksonville was ice cold early in the first half while UNF got hot from long range. The Ospreys canned 10 of their 13 triples in the first 20 which was the key contributor to their 19-point lead at the break.

UNF lead by as many as 22 with 19:42 to play in the game and by 18 with 9:41 left. North Florida only scored four points the rest of the game.

The Jacksonville comeback began with back-to-back Nolan triples at the 9:21 and 7:05 marks. He added a third triple with 5:26 to go, cutting the deficit to just seven. UNF then scored four-straight, their last, to push the lead back to nine with 3:21 on the game clock.

James blocks a shot on the defensive end, Nolan corralled the rebound and fed a streaking Trey Sides who converted in transition to halt the UNF attempt to seal the game.

James then knocked down a pair of free throws after a nasty foul on a breakaway. Davis scored two of his eight on a second-chance opportunity to get this thing down to three with just 39 seconds to go.

UNF missed a triple that caromed out of bounds allowing Jacksonville a chance to have the ball and a chance to tie with a three with just over six seconds to play in the game.

Out of a Jacksonville timeout, Nolan took the inbounds pass and drew an intentional foul at mid-court before he could get a shot off. He made the first free throw then missed the second intentionally hoping for an offensive rebound. UNF secured it first and was able to salt away the remaining seconds before JU could give enough fouls to but the Ospreys on the line.

Jacksonville had nearly completed its third come-from-behind victory of 15 points or more this season.

As the schedule stands right now, Jacksonville’s next games are not until Jan. 22-23 at North Alabama.

The Dolphins were originally slated to have this weekend off and to play UNF next weekend (Jan. 15-16) but the schedule was altered after multiple COVID-19 related postponements around the league a week ago.

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