Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

River City Rumble Ends in Nail-Biting JU Victory; UNF 3-Pointer Bounces off the Rim at Final Buzzer

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

River City Rumble Ends in Nail-Biting JU Victory; UNF 3-Pointer Bounces off the Rim at Final Buzzer

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Elliott

MEN'S BASKETBALL

Jacksonville***70

North Florida***68

Jacksonville University survived a missed 3-point shot by North Florida's Parker Smith at the buzzer Friday night and won 70-68.

The 4,637 on hand at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena were treated to a contest that had 10 ties and eight lead changes. Both teams held three-point leads in the final 7 1/2 minutes of the game, the largest advantage by either during that time.

When Jacksonville's Keith McDougald made good on one of two free-throw attempts with 10.3 seconds remaining, it gave the Dolphins a two-point cushion. But with the Atlantic Sun Conference's most prolific 3-point shooter, UNF's Smith, calling for the ball as Ray Rodriguez raced up the floor, it was a matter of whether it would be a two-point JU win or a one-point victory for the Ospreys.

Smith got the ball with two seconds left, took one quick dribble and let fly with a 24-foot attempt. He had hit on 4-of-7 shots from 3-point range up to that point, but his final shot was a shade too long, hitting the inside of the back of the rim and bounding away.

"I thought it was in when I let it go. It was probably an inch long," said a dejected Smith, who led all scorers with 22 points. "It's a terrible feeling. This game can be decided by a matter of inches. That wasn't the play that lost the game for us, but it definitely would have made the difference to win the game."

For Jacksonville, it adds another notch to its growing number of nail-biter wins. The Dolphins (13-14, 8-6 in A-Sun) have won six of their eight league games by three points or less or in overtime. Two of the six losses were also by three points, including an OT affair.

JU coach Cliff Warren lauded the effort of his young team, a squad that has just two seniors on its 14-player roster.

"It's taken games for these guys to gain experience, to learn and grow," said Warren, the winningest basketball coach in JU history. "These guys practice hard, but you can't simulate this type of atmosphere, what the other team is going to do all the time."

While McDougald turned in his usual strong all-around effort with 16 points and three assists, the Dolphins received a significant boost from a pair of freshmen in Jarvis Haywood and Kordario Fleming. …

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