Smith scores 21 to lead Jacksonville over Gardner-Webb, 75-62
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)—Ben Smith scored a game-high 21 points to lead Jacksonville to a 75-62 win over Gardner-Webb on Saturday in an Atlantic Sun Conference game.
Smith hit 6-of-10 shots from the floor and added five free throws. He helped Jacksonville break away from a 32-32 tie at halftime when he scored nine consecutive points as Jacksonville stretched its lead to eight points at 47-39 with 12 minutes left in the game. Smith did struggle at the free throw line, converting just 7-of-12 attempts.
After Gardner-Webb cut the margin to three points with 11 minutes left, Jacksonville put the game out of reach with a 20-4 surge. Marcus Allen scored seven of his 11 points during the stretch. The Runnin’ Bulldogs scored their four points on four free throws as they went nearly 7 minutes without a field goal before Thomas Sanders hit a jumper with 4:38 left.
Jacksonville had stretched its lead to 19 points before Sanders broke Gardner-Webb’s scoring drought from the field.
The win enabled Jacksonville (12-9, 8-1) to retain its hold on sole possession of first place in the league standings.
In addition to Smith’s 21 points, Jacksonville had three other players in double figures.
Gardner Webb (10-13, 4-5) only hit 5-of-21 attempts from 3-point range. The Bulldogs were led by Sanders who had 16 points, 10 of which came in the last five minutes of the game.