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Trojans axe Jax

Sports Editor

No offense to the Jacksonville University basketball team, but Monday night’s game against Troy State was over at the 6:20 mark of the second half.

Because at the 6:20 mark of the second half with TSU up 62-54, the Dolphins’ Calvin Warner was wide open underneath the basket and missed an easy one-handed jam.

See ya JU.

The Trojans took it the other way and forward Lemayn Wilson finished off a 12-2 run with a reverse layup as Troy State knocked the Dolphins out of first place in the Atlantic Sun with a 76-61 victory.

"They basically refused to lose this ball game in the second half," said TSU head coach Don Maestri about his team’s effort. "They played real hard with a lot of intensity and a lot of hustle."

The Trojans now hold sole possession of first in the A-Sun with a 9-3 league record, (13-6 overall). Jacksonville falls to 15-7 and 9-4 in conference play.

The score was

deadlocked at 52-52 with 9:45 remaining in the game when Wilson converted a rare four-point opportunity at the line for the Trojans. The senior hit a baseline three-pointer, was fouled in the act of shooting, and sank the free throw to give Troy State a 56-52 lead.

Another basket by Wilson followed as did consecutive shots by Lovell Craig and Ben Fletcher to push the lead out to 62-54.

Wilson scored his 20th point of the night following Warner’s miss. He finished with 22 total after being held to just four by Jacksonville in the first meeting between the two schools on Jan. 19; a 74-71 Dolphins’ victory.

The Trojans led by as many as 13 points in the first half. Robert Rushing’s fadeaway jump shot with 6:34 left in the period gave TSU a 34-21 lead.

But Jacksonville, held scoreless for almost three minutes, began to find its range from behind the arc.

Tabari Brown kicked off a 15-0 run with a 2-pointer. That was followed by four straight three-pointers by the Dolphins -two from Toby Frazier and one each from Kevin Sheppard and Travis Robinson.

Robinson’s three-pointer gave the Dolphins a 35-34 lead with 3:13 to go until halftime.

The Trojans reclaimed the lead, 38-36, on a Rushing three-pointer. He finished with 15 points in the game.

"Our guards were gambling a lot early," said junior Lacedrick Pettway. "At the half, Coach (Maestri) told our guards to stop gambling so much, because it was putting our wing men in trouble."

Robinson and Antwan Robertson opened the second half with two straight scores for JU, but Donnie Pemberton answered the call for Troy State with a three-point shot.

Pemberton spent most of the first half being worked on by the TSU athletic trainers. Suffering from pain in his lower back, the senior from Bainbridge, Ga., was doubtful for the game.

Pettway also had to leave the game in the second half with back pain.

Both players returned to action and Pettway, along with Marcus Millhouse, led the Trojans in rebounding. Each pulled down eight boards in the game.

"The coaches told up to pick up the intensity on the offensive rebounding because they (JU) were outrebounding us," said Millhouse. "I just took it upon myself to go to work."

The Trojans also went to work defensively, holding Jacksonville to just one field goal in the final seven minutes of the game.

"They’re a great team," said Pettway. "They’re real good and have a lot of good athletes just like we do. But we just came out today and wanted to win."

Ben Fletcher added 14 points for the Trojans, who next play on the road at Florida Atlantic on Feb. 2.

Robinson had 20 to lead Jacksonville and also pulled down 12 rebounds. Brown also grabbed 12 boards for the Dolphins.