The game was tied in the extra session well into the final minute. UNF’s James Grimball had a chance to give his team the lead with 1:05 left but he missed two free throws; on the other end junior center Tim Lang (
Following a timeout called by acting head coach Wylie Tucker, Stetson handed off the ball around mid-court for most of the shot clock until it was time for Blair to drive the lane for the basket that gave Stetson the lead, 71-69, with 6.6 seconds remaining. The fadeaway jumper by Tom Hammonds as the clock died would not fall and the Hatters claimed their first A-Sun victory of the 2007-08 campaign.
At the end of regulation, Blair sank two free throws with 1:33 remaining that cut the
The speed of sophomore guard A.J. Smith (
Blair added nine rebounds (a season-high) to go along with his career-best scoring total. Smith finished with 14 points, 12 of them after halftime, and a game-high three steals while Lang added a season-high 14 points.
Down eight at the half, Stetson gave up two quick baskets that allowed the Ospreys to take a 34-22 lead less than a minute into the second period.
North Florida re-gained its footing with a Grimball dunk and
Diaz tied the game 53-all with 3:30 to go when he put back a Blair miss, but two Cortez Riley free throws on the other end put North Florida back ahead by two. Smith had a chance to tie the game but missed the second of two free throws. That proved to be extremely costly for the Hatters when Grimball sank a turnaround jumper on the other end while getting fouled; the ensuing free throw pushed the Osprey lead to 58-54 with 1:53 left.
The two teams traded baskets for the first five minutes with UNF taking a 9-8 advantage into the first media timeout. The Ospreys hit three of their first four three-point attempts to stay with Stetson. Neither team got much offense going the next few minutes as the game was tied 12-12 with 11:53 remaining in the first half.
A 6-0 run by UNF combined with a six-minute Stetson scoring drought put the Hatters in a hole just past the midway point of the half from which they would not escape before intermission. Blair and Lang co-led Stetson with eight points apiece. Januska led a balanced Osprey attack with seven points.
Stetson Head Coach Derek Waugh was ejected approximately four minutes into the second half after receiving his second technical foul for arguing a traveling call against Smith. Tucker served as acting head coach the rest of the game.
The Hatters return to action Friday, January 11 when they visit A-Sun foe