|Freshmen Lead Stetson to Season Opening Win|
Double-double for Graham in first collegiate game.
Courtesy: Jim Hogue Photos
DeLand, Fla. - Redshirt freshman Ridge Graham (Stuart, Fla.) and true freshman Tyshawn Patterson (Orlando, Fla.) combined for 25 points and led the Hatters to a 70-65 victory over Averett University Friday night in the Edmunds Center.
With 10 rebounds to go along with his 14 points Graham delivered a double-double in his first collegiate game. Patterson scored 13 points shooting 2-for-6 from the field and 1-for-2 from 3-point range. On a night when Stetson was a disappointing 23-for-41 from the line, Patterson was an impressive 8-of-10.
After falling behind 2-0 on the games first hoop, Stetson's Mark Lohuis (Vero Beach, Fla.) canned his first trey of the season to give Stetson a lead it would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. Averett did manage to tie the score four times in the first half, but that was as close as it would get on the night.
Coming out of the locker room with a slight two point lead, Stetson stretched the margin to as many as 12 points on a layup by Graham with 12:24 remaining. Just when it seemed Stetson was poised to run away with a big win over the Division 3 school out of Danville, Virginia, the feisty Cougars would come back and make the game close.
When Ruben Pierce (Suffolk, Va.) drained a long ball with 3:55 remaining, Averett was back to within three points. After some back-and-forth another trey by Pierce with just over a minute remaining reduced the lead to a pair at 64-62. Stetson, however hit some key free throws by Graham, Lohuis, and Brandon Williams (Miami, Fla.) coming down the stretch to secure the win.
The key to wins for Stetson this season will be solid shooting from the field and from the line. Coming up this week the Hatters travel to play Florida, Florida State and Charleston Southern on the road. If they want to keep pace they will have to improve upon tonight's 41% from the field, 25% from long range, and 56% from the line.
With six freshmen Stetson's roster is young... More importantly it is talented. Players like Graham and Patterson will continue to compliment Stetson's veterans and the team will continue to grow and improve. The future is bright.
Stetson's next game is Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at the University of Florida. Fans can listen to Murray Miller and Harry Arnold call the action on Hatter Vision Audio. They can also tune into the broadcast on the SUN channel or on ESPN 360.com.
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