The Stetson men’s basketball team will play three games in three days as a part of the inaugural Gulf Coast Showcase beginning Monday in Estero, Fla. The Hatters take on Wagner Monday evening at 6:00 p.m. in the first round of the eight-team tournament.
Stetson (0-5), in search of its first victory of the season, has improved steadily over its five road contests to start the year. On Friday the Hatters led by as many as six points in the second half and were tied with still undefeated USF with just over four minutes remaining in a 72-63 defeat.
Veterans Willie Green and Aaron Graham led the Hatters in scoring for the second straight game on Friday. Green poured in a career high 20 points on a blistering 9-of-13 shooting from the floor, while Graham added 15 points on an efficient 3-of-4 shooting night from beyond the arc.
Graham is leading the Hatters with 12.2 points per game through the first five tilts, and has recorded multiple three-pointers in every game. Already with 11 triples on the season, the senior guard is now just four threes away from breaking the Stetson all-time record for career three-pointers. His 177 treys trail only former teammate Joel Naburgs, who tallied 180 in his four seasons in DeLand.
Stetson will open up the tournament against Wagner (3-2) at 6:00 p.m. from Germain Arena in Estero. The Hatters and the Seahawks have never met in the storied histories of both programs, which combine for over 200 seasons of basketball.
It will be common for Stetson to meet an unknown foe this week, as the Hatters have only ever squared off against one other team in the tournament. Stetson is 2-3 all-time against Southern Illinois, a possible opponent for Stetson on Tuesday.
The Hatters will play either SIU or St. Bonaventure in the second round of the Gulf Coast Showcase, scheduled for either 2:30 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, depending on the outcomes of Monday’s games. Wednesday will be the final day of competition, when Stetson could take on any of the four teams on the other side of the bracket (Louisiana Tech, San Diego, Illinois-Chicago, UNC Greensboro).
All of Stetson’s games at the tournament will be aired live on the Hatters Radio Network with Robbie Aaron on the call. Fans can keep up with all the action at the Gulf Coast Showcase by following @StetsonMBB on Twitter and Instagram. UPDATE: There will be a live video stream (subscription) for all this week's games on America One Sports.