Free throws anything but free as Ospreys sink Dolphins

The Jacksonville University men’s basketball team took the much anticipated cross-town trek to UNF Arena for the first installment of this years River City Rumble this past Friday night to take on the Ospreys.

Despite leading most of the way, the Dolphins dropped a close one 86-82 to the rival Ospreys, free-throws being the demise of visiting JU (8-10, 4-3).

UNF (11-9, 5-2), led by Travis Wallace who dominated the Dolphins by scoring 27 points and grabbing 19 rebounds, overcame a hot-shooting first half by JU. The Ospreys outlasted a career-best 29 points from Jarvis Haywood on their way to stealing a win on their home floor, the same court JU was victorious on a year ago. JU swept the 2012-2013 season series.

Coming off a huge, statement win against arguably the best team in the conference in Florida Gulf Coast, the Dolphins played an almost complete first half, on their way to a 50-43 lead at the break, marking the most points in an opening half for JU this year against a Division-I opponent.

The one down side of the JU opening half; free throws (the Dolphins went 18-32).

Both teams shot poorly all night from the charity stripe, but the Ospreys were able to be put forth the “better” of the two poor performances. The last time the Dolphins endured such a poor shooting night from the free throw line, also came against UNF in 2011.

After trailing the entire night, UNF grabbed their first lead of the game with 13 minutes to play, taking the lead at 60-58. The lead would continue to swing back and forth with the Ospreys eventually, between cold shooting from JU and stiff defense from UNF, put the game away.

Joining Haywood in double figures, Keith McDougald scored 20 points for JU as Vince Martin also added 13. Javon Dawson added a double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

A bright spot for both teams were their lack of turnovers. The two bitter-rivals combined for just seven turnovers, four of which belonged to JU, a record in the Cliff Warren era.

Next up the Dolphins have a two-game swing on the road to face USC Upstate and East Tennessee State before returning home to face Lipscomb on January 30 at 7 p.m.