DeLand, Fla. - Freshman Luis Jacobo (Sanford, Fla.) scored a career-high 18 points and sophomore Ridge Graham (Stuart, Fla.) scored 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds to lead Stetson to a 79-72 win over Mercer Friday night in the Edmunds Center. It was the 5th double-double of the season and the 7th of his career for Graham. The victory raised the Hatters' record to 6-11 overall and 4-3 in Atlantic Sun Conference play, while the Bears fell to 4-13 and 1-5 on the season.
Victoria Australia natives Joel Naburgs and Graeme Radford also played exceptionally well for the home team. Naburgs tallied double-figures with 15 points including a 7-for-8 effort from the line, while Radford crashed the boards for a career-high 10 rebounds.
"I am really proud of the guys tonight", said Stetson head coach Derek Waugh. "I thought Graeme Radford, who hadn't played a lot recently was absolutely the difference in the game. He had some huge defensive looks and got some big offensive rebounds."
In addition to his rebounds Radford added five points and played a season-high 20 minutes for the Hatters. Six of his rebounds came at key moments coming down the stretch in the second half.
"It was a really good job by a senior on a team of freshmen and sophomores", he added.
As a team Stetson shot 26-of 49 (53.1 %) from the field, 5-for-13 (38.5%) from long range and 22-for-34 (64.7%) from the line. The Hatters outscored the Bears 28-12 in the paint, 25-15 off turnovers, 14-11 on 2nd chance points, 6-0 on fast break points, and finished with a 26-7 advantage in points scored by bench players.
The score was tied eight times in the first half until the Grahams combined for a momentum-changing layup. With Corey Walden on the bench with some minor early foul trouble, Aaron Graham (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) took the point for the Hatters. He hit a key 3-pointer early and then added a jumper before dishing the ball to Ridge Graham for the go-ahead-to-stay layup with 8:50 on the clock. Another Ridge layup sandwiched by a Mercer field goal and pair of Jacobo jumpers put Stetson up by six at 30-24.
The Hatters outscored the Bears 9-5 in the remaining four minutes and went into the locker room with a season-high 10-point halftime lead of 39-29. As a team the Hatters were 16-of-27 (59.3%) from the field including an impressive 5-for-6 (83.3%) effort from beyond the arc. Jacobo tallied 16 of Stetson's 39 points besting his career-high of 14 with an entire half yet to play.
"Yeah Lew was feeling it in that first half", said Waugh. "I think the key was that he was taking really good shots and staying within himself. All of our freshman now have 17 games under their belts and they are really getting the feel for playing college basketball."
Tonight's game was broadcast live on Comcast Sports South with Matt Stewart and Sonny Smith calling the action. Stetson will play on CSS once more this season, a home game against USC Upstate on February 4 at 7:00 p.m.
Next up the Hatters will host Kennesaw State on Sunday, January 16 at 2:00 p.m. Stetson fans can catch the game on Hatter Vision with 17-year veterans Murray Miller and Harry Arnold calling the action. Also be sure to follow the Hatters on Twitter at @StetsonSID, on Facebook at Stetson Athletics, and check out the Stetson Hatters channel onYouTube.