Jacksonville University couldn’t stay out of foul trouble or consistently make shots most of Thursday night.
Stopping Bethune-Cookman forward Shawntrez Davis didn’t go much better.
Davis recorded a double-double with a game-high 28 points and 10 rebounds as the Wildcats dealt the sluggish Dolphins a surprising 77-66 loss at Swisher Gymnasium.
“He dominated the game,” said Jacksonville coach Tony Jasick, whose team shot 36.9 percent and had 18 turnovers. “Give him credit. At no point did we match his energy or toughness, which was unfortunate.”
JD Notae had a career-high 24 points and added seven rebounds in the loss. Jace Hogan chipped in with 17 points and 12 rebounds, notching his second double-double in as many games for the Dolphins (3-5), who had beaten the Wildcats (4-3) in 12 of 15 previous meetings.
But foul trouble contributed to a deficit that was too much to overcome.
JU looked lost for stretches of the first half with top playmaker Devin Harris and quality big man Cody Helgeland saddled with foul trouble.
Harris, who came into Thursday night leading the team in rebounds, assists and steals in addition to his 15.7 points per game, was whistled for his second foul on an in-bounds play at the 17:58 mark of the first half and didn’t return before halftime.
Without him, JU struggled to find any sort of offensive rhythm. The Dolphins shot just 1 of 12 from behind the arc and totaled eight turnovers as the Wildcats opened a 34-26 advantage at halftime.
Bethune-Cookman took its biggest lead early in the second half when Davis used a personal 6-0 run, including a thunderous dunk, to help the Wildcats go up 40-26.
But Notae kept the Dolphins within striking distance despite their poor play. The talented freshman guard hit a trio of 3-pointers over the next four minutes to hold wittle the deficit down to 46-37.
That seemed to get the Dolphins going.
Radwan Bakkali hit a jump shot to cap a 12-2 run by JU that cut Bethune-Cookman’s lead to 54-53 with 6:29 remaining and finally bring some energy to a quiet crowd.
But that’s as close as JU would get.
Davis hit a 3-pointer as part of a 10-1 answer by the Wildcats, who outlasted the Dolphins during a second half that was mostly pretty sloppy.
“It’s just a matter of bringing the intensity from practice to games,” said Dolphins forward Jalyn Hinton, who had seven points and 12 rebounds before fouling out.
Foul trouble really plagued the Dolphins, who were returning home following a successful showing at the Wright State Tournament last week.
They also lost Helgeland during the second half and were forced to rely on a handful of freshmen to contribute.
Phillip Heilman: (904) 359-4063