|Pegg’s Night Not Enough as Hatters Fall in OT|
Nashville, Tenn. – Adam Pegg had a career night on Monday, but when he stepped to the free throw line with 0.4 seconds left against Lipscomb, he needed two free throws to force overtime.
The junior from Clearwater delivered but it was Lipscomb’s Damarius Smith who turned out to be the ultimate hero, draining a three-pointer with one second left in the extra period to lift the homestanding Bison to a 104-103 victory over Stetson at Allen Arena.
The Hatters fall to 7-11 overall on the year and 4-4 in Atlantic Sun Conference play with the heartbreaking loss. Lipscomb improved to 9-10 overall and 4-3 in league play.
Understandably, the Hatters were disappointed with the outcome.
“I told them I was sorry because they played well enough down the stretch and a lot of guys made big plays, starting with Adam’s free throws at the end of regulation,” Stetson coach Casey Alexander said. “Usually, when you do that things go your way, but they made one more than we did.”
It was Aaron Graham who hit a pair of clutch free throws for the Hatters with 7.4 seconds left to give Stetson a 103-101 lead. After a timeout, Smith was able to get free for a long-range three, his only three-point attempt of the game, to win it for Lipscomb.
“It was a great game,” Alexander said. “It was a great game to watch, but not necessarily a great game to coach. I don’t think we played solid at all. We played with a lot of heart, but we didn’t play solid and you have to do both to be really good.”
Pegg finished with career-highs in both points (28) and rebounds (14) to record his first double-double. Graham added 14 points for the Hatters while Chris Perez scored 23 before fouling out late in regulation.
Stetson trailed throughout the evening, taking a quick one-point lead in the first half, and another late in the second half. It was not until the overtime period when the Hatters finally went up by two, but both times Lipscomb answered, including for the final points of the game.
The Hatters struggled to find their shooting touch early in the game, hitting just five of their first 17 shots from the field as Lipscomb jumped out to an early 26-16 lead. From that point, however, Stetson started shooting better, and went on a 13-3 run to knot the score at 29.
“We didn’t have a good flow on either end early,” Alexander said. “They pressured us and we panicked and that kept us from running our offense. Once we settled down and realized that it was just a game, we were okay.
“We settled down and played better. We are capable. It is frustrating when things down go your way, but we are capable. The kids need to know that, and I think they do. We have another chance to prove that on Friday night, and that is all that we can do. We have to respond and be ready to go.”
The teams traded baskets for the rest of the first half before Lipscomb closed the period with a dunk by Justin Glenn to take a 41-39 lead at the break.
The Hatters finished the game hitting 13-of-37 from three-point range while also making 22-of-30 at the free throw line. Stetson also outrebounded the Bison 46-41.
Lipscomb was led offensively by Jordan Burgason with 24 points. Jacob Arnett added 22 while Zavion Williams scored 20. Justin Glenn had a double-double for the Bison with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
“Burgason is a great player,” Alexander said. “If you watch him play, he does that every game. You just have to do the best job you can against him. The one I was really disappointed in was when we fouled him on a shot. That was really all we said to our guys. You have to guard him as well as you can, but don’t ever foul him. That was a bad mistake.”
The Hatters will return to action on Friday night at the Edmunds Center when they host Florida Gulf Coast in a regionally televised game at 7 p.m. on CSS. The evening will include the debut of the new Stetson Athletics mascot, which will be introduced at halftime.
All fans in attendance at the game will receive a free Stetson bandana to commemorate the debut of the new mascot.