On this night Smith (
In the first half the Hatters shot 54% from the field and were never down by more than two points. The lead changed hands six times with Stetson’s largest lead of eight points (25-17) coming on a Smith 3-pointer at 8:23. FGCU then went on a 13-5 run to even the score at 30 with 1:17 left in the period. A pair of turnovers later the half came down to a final second jumper by Smith. After the buzzer sounded and the referee reviewed the play on a television monitor, Stetson led 32-30 at halftime.
Acting head coach Wylie Tucker credited assistant coach Jon Coffman with a halftime speech that inspired the players to come out of the locker room and show the Eagles, and the league what kind of team it can be; Stetson did not trail again in the game.
FGCU did tie the score 32-32 with a quick hoop at 19:47. Stetson then went on a 12-point run started by a Blair put-back off the offensive glass and a free throw after he was fouled. The run ended with an Eric Diaz (
Stetson had not heard the last of the Eagles however as the home team fought back and worked the lead down to three points 55-52 with 4:46 on the clock. The next basket, a 3-pointer by FGCU’s Rob Quaintance, made the Alico Arena’s record-breaking crowd of 4,216 erupt in a roar that shook the building. It did not, however, shake the Hatters’ Mark Lohuis (
With 3:17 on the game clock and just two seconds on the shot clock a closely-guarded Lohuis took a pass in 3-point range, forced FGCU’s Casey Wohlleb into the air with a great fake, leaned in and took a hard foul. Lohuis’ ensuing three free throws took the wind out the Eagles and propelled the Hatters to its sixth victory of the season and second win in conference play. Stetson has now won its last two games and four out of the last six.
After playing three of its first 16 games on the road, the Hatters will finally return home for three consecutive games in the