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First Half Run, Defense Help Jacksonville Past Furman, 65-53

Larry Wideman
Larry Wideman

Jacksonville, Fla. – Jacksonville University used an 11-0 first half run to grab the lead and held Furman to 28.6% shooting in the second half en route to a 65-53 victory over the Paladins in men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Arena.

The loss, Furman's third straight, dropped the Paladins to 3-8 on the season.  Jacksonville improved to 5-7 with its first victory in its last three outings.

Furman fashioned a 17-10 advantage in the opening minutes behind six points from freshman Stephen Croone and led 24-21 following a Bryant Irwin put back with 6:18 remaining in the period, but the Dolphins reeled off an 11-0 run to take control of the game.  Jarvis Haywood ignited the run with a three-pointer and Evin Graham and Kordario Fleming capped the spurt with back-to-back dunks to put JU in front 32-24 with three minutes left in the half.

After carrying a 38-30 lead into the break, Jacksonville began the second half on a 9-2 run to build a 47-32 lead.  The Dolphins led 50-39 with under 13 minutes left when Irwin converted a jumper, David Brown drained a three and Kevin Chuisseu followed with a layup to trim the margin to 50-46 with 11:13 to play.

Jacksonville's defense took over down the stretch and held Furman to just two baskets and seven total points over the final 11 minutes to pull away for their first victory since December 3.  

Haywood led the way for the Dolphins with a career-high 16 points and nine rebounds while Dylan Fritsch added 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting.  Fleming rounded out the Dolphins double figure scorers with 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.

Jacksonville shot 45.6% from the field, including 60% in the first half, and out-rebounded the Paladins 43-32.  The Dolphins outscored Furman 32-18 in the paint and 16-7 on the fast break.

Furman shot only 33.9% from the floor and connected on just 6-of-24 three-point attempts.  Croone paced the Paladins with 11 points.

The Paladins return to action on December 30, when they take on the SMU Mustangs in Dallas, Texas, in the final non-conference contest of the season.  Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m. ET.

The game will be aired live on 103.3 WOLT-FM and 96.3 WGOG-FM with Dan Scott providing play-by-play and Jordan Caskey handling color commentator duties.  

Fans can follow live statistics of the game and listen to the live steaming broadcast thru Stretch Audio by logging onto www.FurmanPaladins.com.