MBB:JU Comeback Comes Up Short at Bethune-Cookman

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Trailing by as many as 15 points in the final minutes of the first half, Jacksonville pulled to within one in the final minutes. The Dolphins were not able to complete the comeback however as the Wildcats claimed a 52-47 victory inside Moore Gym. 

“At the end the day it is effort, concentration and attention to detail,” said Head Coach Tony Jasick. “Every possession is valuable and we did not come out of the gate valuing the basketball or valuing getting a stop on the defense end and we dug a hole.”

Kori Babineaux led Jacksonville (2-8) with 17 points and four steals, including 11 points in the second half in which the Dolphins held a 26-17 advantage.

Bethune-Cookman (3-6) leading scorer Clemmye Owens hit two three-pointers in a 20 second span in the first half to open up an eight point advantage just five minutes into the game. The Dolphins were playing catch up from there and went into the locker room trailing 35-21 as Owens led all scorers with 12 points at the break and Mikel Trapp added 10 points.

“We came out in the first half and their top two scorers accounted for 11 of their first 13 points,” said Jasick. “That in my opinion that is not being ready to play and dialed in from the tip. It is unfortunate that when good players like that get going to results in the first half like we saw tonight.”

Jacksonville mounted a comeback in the second half. The Dolphins first cut the lead down to five (41-36) on a three by Andris Mister with just under 10 minutes left to play. The Wildcats pushed it back to eight with free throws after a foul on a three-point attempt, but that did not stop the Jacksonville rally.

Holding the Wildcats to just 2-18 (11.1 percent) shooting in the second half would keep the Dolphins in the game. They eventually pulled to within one at 44-43 on a Babineaux lay-up with five minutes left. Jacksonville could get no closer however as the Wildcats, who hit 13-17 at the foul line in the second half, sealed the game with free throws in the closing minutes.

“We made a few different personnel changes at the half and they made only two baskets the second half,” Jasick said. “Give credit to the six guys we played in the second half. Those guys fought like crazy and got the game to a manageable number, and gave us a chance down the stretch.”

Marcel White added 10 points to join Babineaux in double figures. Omar El Manasterly came off the bench to add a career high six rebounds, all on the offensive end.

Owens would finish with 19 points to lead Bethune-Cookman.

The Dolphins will break for a week to attend to final exams before returning to action on Dec. 14 at Florida.

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