After a 2-0 road weekend that kept the Hatters in third place in the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Stetson men's basketball team (12-14, 9-6) returns to action this Friday hosting Florida Gulf Coast (19-9, 11-4) in the CSS/A-Sun Friday Night Game of the Week.
The contest can be seen on Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) with Matt Stewart (play-by-play) and Sonny Smith (analyst) on the call. ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court will also carry the game outside of the CSS footprint. Cox Sports Television (CST) will run the game on tape delay at 10:00 p.m.
Stetson enters the weekend in third place in the league at 9-6, already clinching its best conference record since going 11-5 in 2007-08. A come from behind victory at Lipscomb on Feb. 14 clinched an A-Sun Tournament berth for the Hatters for the first time since 2008-09, and a strong defensive effort in a 62-46 victory at Northern Kentucky kept the momentum going.
"There's no reason to consider winning streaks, losing streaks, or momentum," Stetson head coach Casey Alexander said about the upcoming contest with FGCU. "What last game [against FGCU] taught us is that the 40 minutes on the floor are really all that matter at the moment. We learned our lesson that if we play poorly and they play well then it's going to be a miserable night again."
The last time these two teams met was on Jan. 25 when Stetson was riding a five-game win streak and was alone in first place in the A-Sun. A devastating 96-65 loss in Fort Myers was followed by a pair of heartbreakers at Jacksonville and North Florida.
"They played with great energy, and when they are at their best, that's why," Alexander said about the Eagles. "They play really freely, and that's the strength of their team. They play with great confidence. They really fly around all over the place, and they did that against us. The worse you are, the more that feeds the beast, and that's what happened.
"There were a lot of correctable mistakes that should give a chance to win this game," Alexander went on to say. "We have to guard much more aggressively. That doesn't mean getting into passing lanes, but rather we can't get back on our heels. They're really good at taking the fight to you offensively, and they have a lot of weapons, so if you're hesitant you will have a difficult time guarding them. We have to be much more determined to defend them with real purpose."
Since the loss at FGCU the Hatters have won three out of their last four games, which gave Stetson regular season sweeps of Northern Kentucky, Lipscomb (first time since 2009), and USC Upstate (first time ever). Senior Adam Pegg, meanwhile, was honored by the conference with his first career Player of the Week award after leading Stetson with 20.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game this past weekend.
"There's no secret that he's been a real steady, consistent, good player for us all year," Alexander said of Pegg. "He's given us a chance to win a lot of games, and it's great to see him finally get recognized for it. We're all going to be happier if we're getting individual awards and team awards at the same time."
In addition to being televised on CSS, CST, and ESPN3, Friday's game will also be available on HatterVision and ASun.TV. Fans can also listen to the game on WSBB 1230 AM, 1490 AM, and at MyAM1230.com with Robbie Aaron on the call. Live Stats, the @StetsonMBB Twitter feed, and Hat-Alerts are also available for in-game updates.