RICHMOND, Va. (judolphins.com) – Jacksonville University men's basketball led by as many as 16 in the second half, taking down VCU 72-63 on Wednesday night in the Siegel Center.
The Dolphins (5-2) were led by a balanced scoring attack and a defense that held the Rams to 37 percent shooting and just 18 percent from three on the night.
VCU started the game scoring the first six points, after which, Mike Marsh answered with a personal 6-0 run to tie it. Kevion Nolan hit his first of four threes on the night to put JU up 9-7 and the Dolphins never trailed again.
Jarius Cook hit a driving layup to push the JU lead to eight, 24-16, with 7:05 to play in the first. From there, VCU battled back to tie it up at 24 with 3:32 left. The two teams traded buckets the rest of the half and went into the break tied at 32.
The second half started much the way the first ended, with the two teams trading points for the first two-plus minutes. Marsh then went to work again. The big man drew a shooting foul and made a pair of free throws and followed that with a hook shot after JU forced a turnover. Jordan Davis was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three free throws to push the lead back to seven, 43-36, with 16:23 to play. It stayed tight until Gyasi Powell hit a fadeaway at the free throw line to push the lead to eight and JU came out of the under-12 timeout with a perfect play to allow Nolan to feed Osayi Osifo for a dunk and the lead grew to double-digits for the first time.
Powell picked off a pass with just under 10 to play and dished to Oumar Koureissi for a fast-break layup and Nolan picked up a block and then threw an alley-oop to Osifo in transition and made a driving layup to push the lead to 61-46 with 6:51 to play. Marsh split a pair of free throws with 4:32 left to build the lead to 16, but VCU had one more run in them.
A 10-0 run over the next 1:53 cut the lead to six, with most of the damage coming at the free throw line, where eight of their 10 points came. JU struggled with turnovers, but Nolan made a contested three-pointer with the shot-clock expiring to push the lead back to nine and give the Dolphins a little breathing room. It never got to two possessions the rest of the way, as JU made all six free throws over the last 1:35 to salt it away.
Jacksonville heads to Wilmington to battle UNCW on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.
NUMBERS YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Kevion Nolan scored 20 points for his 12th career 20-point game and his third this season
- He also flirted with a triple-double, adding seven rebounds and eight assists
- Mike Marsh had 17 points and nine rebounds, notching his fifth double-figure scoring game of the season. He also had a career-high three steals
- Jarius Cook scored 11 points for the second-straight game, matching his high in a JU uniform
- Gyasi Powell set a career-high with five assists and matched a career-best six rebounds
- JU made nine three-pointers for the third-straight game
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