After just one day in between games, the Stetson men's basketball team (3-7) is set to challenge rival UCF (6-3) Thursday night in Orlando. The Hatters and the Knights are scheduled to tip off at 7:00 p.m. at the UCF Arena with coverage on CSS, Bright House Sports Network, and the Hatters Radio Network.
Stetson is coming off of a dramatic victory over Florida Atlantic on Tuesday night. Down one point with just seven seconds remaining, junior Chris Perez put back a missed Hatter jumper as the buzzer sounded to give Stetson a 69-68 victory in Boca Raton, snapping the team's six-game losing streak.
"I hope it allows us just to settle down and play now, where everything doesn't seem so magnified when you make a mistake," Stetson head coach Casey Alexander said of the win on Tuesday. "When the shot doesn't go in, or when theirs does, or when there's an offensive rebound, that's what wins can do for you. When you have a little bit more confidence, you just settle down and play."
After Thursday night's game at UCF, the Hatters won't compete again until Dec. 31 when Atlantic Sun Conference play opens up on the road at Mercer. Stetson will attempt to keep the recent win streak alive against a very tough Knights squad.
"We've got a really good team in UCF," Alexander said of the Hatters' upcoming schedule. "Really athletic, really well coached, and on their floor, so it's going to be a great challenge. I told our guys to not look back. It doesn't mean we're going to play perfectly, or win them all, but don't look back. Let's try to move forward, and that's what Thursday night will do for us."
UCF welcomes Stetson to town with a 6-3 record, and just recently snapped a three-game winning streak with a home loss to Miami. The Knights fell to the Hurricanes, a team that the Hatters lost to 87-79 in the season-opener, by a score of 72-50. Like Stetson, the Knights have four players scoring in double figures, including Keith Clanton's 16.9 points per outing.
The Knights hold a 23-15 advantage in the all-time series against Stetson, but have won a staggering 12 straight meetings against the Hatters, dating back to 2002. Stetson's last victory against UCF was an 83-65 win on Jan. 27, 2001 in DeLand. Last season, the Knights topped the Hatters 80-70 in Orlando.
Thursday night's contest will be featured on a number of regional television outlets, including Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) and Bright House Sports Network. Comcast SportsNet: California and The Comcast Network: Mid Atlantic will also air the game, with Bernie Guenther and Brian Oliver on the call.
The game will also be aired live on the radio at WSBB 1230 AM in New Smyrna, 1490 AM in DeLand, and online at www.MyAM1230.com with Robbie Aaron and Ryan Rouse on the call. Live Stats, the @StetsonMBB Twitter feed, and Hat-Alerts are also available for in-game updates.
Fans will be able to get into Thursday night's game FREE by donating a non-perishable food item at the door. AllState Insurance is sponsoring the event to help stock up the UCF Knight Pantry. For more information, CLICK HERE.