Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stakes High for JU Men, Women; Teams Share a Common Opponent Today in the Atlantic Sun Semifinals

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stakes High for JU Men, Women; Teams Share a Common Opponent Today in the Atlantic Sun Semifinals

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF ELLIOTT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Jacksonville University will meet Gardner-Webb today in the semifinals of the men's and women's Atlantic Sun Conference tournaments at Allen Arena.

It marks just the second A-Sun Tournament semifinal for each Dolphins squad.

The men advanced this far in 2005, when they lost to top-seeded Gardner-Webb 77-76. The women made it to the semifinals last year before falling to East Tennessee State.

To reach Saturday's title games, both JU teams will have to beat Gardner-Webb teams that appear to be peaking.

The men's team, which gained national recognition earlier this season with a 16-point win at then-No. 20 Kentucky, has won six of its last eight and turned in a 54-point second half Thursday to rout Stetson 82-63.

"They share the basketball, and they have guys who can make shots," Dolphins coach Cliff Warren said of the Runnin' Bulldogs. "It's not just one or two guys you can focus on. You have to contest five guys, all of whom can shoot from the outside and who can take it to the basket."

In the only meeting between the two teams this season, host JU took control after an even first half to win 75-62 on Feb. 2.

Marcus Allen, who scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds in a 65-57 quarterfinal victory over Mercer, said the Dolphins aren't thinking about the possibility of playing in their first A-Sun title game.

"We're here to win three games, but our only focus right now is on Gardner-Webb," Allen said. "It would mean a lot to us, our university, the alumni, the city. But we need to have a full team effort against Gardner-Webb for us to get to Saturday's championship."

Stetson coach Derek Waugh, whose team looked so strong in a 17-point win over JU last Saturday, had no answer for Gardner-Webb's second-half onslaught Thursday. He did however, issue a warning to the Dolphins.

"If Gardner-Webb is making its shots and dropping in 3s like they did against us, they are very, very tough to beat," Waugh said. "These guys can score."

Before back-to-back losses at Lipscomb and Belmont to close out the regular season, Gardner-Webb had won five consecutive games, all by 13 points or more.

"We had five fantastic games in a row, so we know we can play back-to-back if we have to," Bulldogs coach Rick Scruggs said. …

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