DeLand, Fla. – Sophomore shooting guard Mark Lohuis (Vero Beach, Fla.) hit for career highs in points (21) and rebounds (9) to lead Stetson to a 73-56 win over the University of North Florida Thursday night in the Edmunds Center.
The Hatters opened up the game with a 14-0 run before the Ospreys hit their first bucket, a 3-pointer by Stan Januska, with 14:03 remaining in the first half. Then, Stetson went cold for nearly six minutes and did not score until senior J.J. Hirst (Okeechobee, Fla.) banked in a jumper to make the score 16-11. That stretch set the tone for much of the game. North Florida would get to within a few points, and then Stetson would pull away by a few. Although the Hatters never allowed the Ospreys to catch up, or even tie the game, they were not able to put the Ospreys away until late in the second half.
After coming out of the locker room with a nine point deficit, UNF reduced the lead to 37-36 when Januska hit another 3-pointer. Then, of course, the Hatters pulled ahead. The Ospreys were able to get to within a single point four times in the second half until Stetson had finally had enough with 4:42 remaining in the game. Junior Garfield Blair (Orlando, Fla.) penetrated into the paint and then kicked the ball out to a wide open Lohuis who drained a long ball and put the Hatters up by five points at 57-52. That was as close as UNF would be for the remainder of the game. With 1:07 on the clock Brandon Williams (Miami, Fla.) hit a pair of free throws to put Stetson up by 17 points and the final score of 73-56.
Lohuis was on fire all night hitting 6-of-11 from the floor, 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, and 4-for-4 from the line. He also narrowly missed a double-double by crashing the boards for his career-high nine rebounds. Offensively Blair’s night was just above average (16.3). He was 6-for-14 from the floor, 1-for-2 from long range and 6-of 10 from the line for 19 points. Blair also led the team in assists with five. Juniors Eric Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and defensive specialist Kris Thomas (Lithonia, Ga.) chipped in nine points apiece.
As a team the Hatters shot 43.4% from the field and 53.8% from 3-point range. Stetson scored 22 of its 73 points in the paint and out-rebounded the Ospreys 36-to-30.
The victory raised Stetson’s overall record to an even 15-15 on the season, and its A-Sun record to an impressive 10-5. North Florida dropped to 3-25 overall and 1-14 in conference play. Saturday night the Hatters will host Jacksonville University at 8:15 in the Edmunds Center. It will be senior night as Stetson honors its lone senior J.J. Hirst. A win over the Dolphins would give Stetson a shot at the #3 seed in next week’s A-Sun Tournament in Nashville. The Dolphins are already set as the #2 seed while Belmont enters as #1. For Saturday’s game and all throughout the tournament Hatter fans can go to www.gohatters.com to see the games on Hatter Vision with Murray Miller and Harry Arnold calling the action.