Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dolphins Tip off Trip at Texas JU Opens 7-Game Road Swing Today

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dolphins Tip off Trip at Texas JU Opens 7-Game Road Swing Today

Article excerpt

Byline: Teneshia L. Wright, Times-Union sports writer

The Jacksonville University men's basketball team boasts its best home record, 5-0, in 22 years.

That's good enough, but the Dolphins don't play at home again until Jan. 5.

JU (5-1) hopes to make another statement by winning outside of Swisher Gym, figuring it'll payoff when the team plays six Atlantic Sun Conference road games in January.

Today, the Dolphins visit Texas (4-3) to begin a seven-game road stretch that includes a trip to Wichita State on Monday, an appearance in the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico at the end of next week, and games at Savannah State and Florida Atlantic around New Year's Day.

"I think we're looking at this as a chance to really establish ourselves around the country," center Ryan Lewis said. "A lot of people don't know about us. They'll know about us after we finish if we play good."

"It's going to be real important," forward Calvin Warner said of the trip. "We already lost one of our road games in the only one we played. Here's our chance to improve and turn things around."

The team expects Texas to provide the stiffest challenge of the seven games. Like the Dolphins, the Longhorns are relying on defense. Texas has held teams below 40 percent shooting to win its last three games. In its five victories, JU has held opponents under 40 percent shooting and to less than 70 points.

Although JU and Texas have never met, the Longhorns are 4-0 all-time against Atlantic Sun teams. Texas also has won 31 of its last 34 home games. JU lost its only road game this season, 73-72 at Central Florida.

"I think we're pretty evenly matched," Lewis said. "It's just going to be about who has the stronger will to get it done."

"This will be a pretty good test," JU point guard Kevin Sheppard said. "I think this will help us for the conference tournament, playing in front of 15,000 Texas fans. …

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