FORT MYERS, Fla. - Ben Smith led all scorers with 24 points and added 5 assists and 5 rebounds to lead the visiting Jacksonville Dolphins to a 75-65 victory over the homestanding Eagles. Reed Baker led the Eagles in scoring with 15, and Christian Wolf played a strong game as well, scoring 12 points on 5-7 shooting and also pulled down 5 rebounds.
Both teams came out of the gates shooting well, and within four and a half minutes the score was tied at 10. Ben Smith's three with 13:27 left in the half put the Dolphins in front 15-12, but the Eagles rattled off eight consecutive points to take a 20-15 lead. Jacksonville battled back to tie it at 20 apiece, but FGCU clamped down on defense for the final 10 minutes of the half, allowing just two field goals to the Dolphins, and the Eagles carried a 29-24 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Eagles were able to push the lead out to as much as 11 points with 15:25 to play at 43-32. But over the next three and a half minutes, JU went on a 13-0 run to take a two point lead with just under 12 minutes to go. The Eagles regained the lead with 7:54 left thanks to a three from Reed Baker, but that would be the final lead that FGCU would hold. The Dolphins Lehmon Colbert hit a 3-pointer with 4:51 to play to extend the JU lead to four points, followed immediately by a 4-0 spurt by the Eagles to tie the game at 57 apiece. Shortly thereafter, Jacksonville's Tevin Galvin hit a three, and after a Kyle Marks free throw, Ben Smith hit another three, putting the visitors out in front 63-58 with 2:36 to play. Marcus Allen's layup and a free throw from Smith made it 66-58 with 1:05 left, essentially sealing the victory for the Dolphins. Derrick O'Neil's three-point play with 48 seconds left brought the home team to within five and momentarily gave the fans at Alico Arena a reason to stick around, but JU hit their free throws down the stretch, and eventually walked out of Alico with a 75-65 win.
For the Dolphins (11-8, 9-1), Ben Smith led all scorers with 24 points and also added a game-high 3 steals, a team-high 5 assists, and 5 rebounds. Lehmon Colbert recorded a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 11 boards, and Tevin Galvin added 10 points.
For the Eagles (9-13, 5-6), Reed Baker scored a team-high 15 points on 4-14 shooting from the field. Christian Wolf played a solid game, scoring 12 points and grabbing 5 boards in 20 minutes off the bench. Derrick O'Neil also reached double-figures in scoring with 10, and pulled down 6 rebounds as well.
The Eagles will hit the road for a conference game at Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM on Wednesday night, January 28th. The Eagles land back at home on Saturday as part of another Eagles Hoops Doubleheader, featuring the women's game against Belmont at 1:00 PM and the men's game also against Belmont at 3:15 PM. The men's game will feature the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Day, as all of the coaches will be sporting suits and sneakers in collaboration with the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.