Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JU Playing with a Lot on the Line; Dolphins Are Again in Position to Win the Regular-Season Title

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JU Playing with a Lot on the Line; Dolphins Are Again in Position to Win the Regular-Season Title

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF ELLIOTT

When Jacksonville traveled to Campbell on Dec. 19, the Camels earned a 16-point win in what seemed to be an inauspicious way for the Dolphins to open the Atlantic Sun Conference season.

Now, more than two months later, the two teams, which are currently tied for first place in the A-Sun, will square off tonight at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The winner will be assured of no worse than a share of the league title.

This is the second year in a row JU enters the final week of the regular season with a shot at the league title.

Last year, the Dolphins split a series in Nashville, Tenn., beating Belmont 84-82 in overtime to win the regular-season title, the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament and a guaranteed spot in either the NCAA Tournament or the National Invitation Tournament. JU lost to East Tennessee State in the A-Sun final and settled for the NIT.

A win tonight and again on Saturday over ETSU will give the Dolphins possession of the regular-season title. Two losses however, could drop JU to as low as a tie for fourth place and possibly a No. 5 seed.

"Our guys are focused on the task at hand, and that's beating Campbell," JU coach Cliff Warren said. "We haven't talked about the seedings for the league tournament or the tiebreaking procedures. We're just taking this one game at a time. Right now, it's all about beating Campbell."

The Dolphins recovered from an 0-3 league start to win 13 of their past 15 A-Sun games.

Warren has consistently harped on the importance for his young team (all underclassmen with the exception of senior starters Ben Smith and Lehmon Colbert) to continue to make progress each practice and each game. For the most part, they've done that, Warren said.

"There are still some areas that we have concerns about, but our young players have improved over the season," Warren said. "We feel real good about the play of our three sophomores [center Will Alston, forward Tevin Galvin and guard Chris Edwards]. …

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