Smith adds 33 to take Jacksonville to 98-94 win over Stetson

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)—Ben Smith scored a career high 33 points, including five points in the third overtime, to lead Jacksonville to a 98-94 win over Stetson on Thursday in the Atlantic Sun Conference opener for both teams.

Smith connected on 10-of-17 shots and added 11 free throws in playing through a painful hip-pointer injury. Despite the injury, he played in a game-high 50 minutes for the Dolphins.

Jacksonville (4-8, 1-0) battled back from a 19-point deficit in the first half and trailed by 13 at 39-26 at halftime. But the Dolphins opened the second half with a 14-2 surge and finally took the lead at 45-43 near the midway point of the half.

Stetson (4-10, 0-1) then scored 11 consecutive points to regain the lead and led much of the second half until Jacksonville tied the game in the closing seconds.

Jacksonville appeared to have the game won in the second overtime when Ayron Hardy tipped in his own shot to give the Dolphins a three-point advantage at 89-86 with 15 seconds remaining. But Stetson’s Brandon Williams connected from 3-point range with three seconds left to force a third overtime.

Smith got the Dolphins off to a quick start in the third OT, and when Hardy hit a long jumper, JU led by five at 95-90 and hung on for the win, breaking its 8-game losing streak.

Lehmon Colbert scored 18 points and Hardy contributed 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Garfield Blair scored 20 points to lead five Hatters in double figures. It marked the fourth game in a row that Blair had scored at least 20 points.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Stetson
G. Blair G. Blair
6-12,  20 Pts
8 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Jacksonville
B. Smith B. Smith
10-17,  33 Pts
5 Rebs, 3 Assists

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Thursday, Jan 3