JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the second time in three games the Stetson men’s basketball team allowed 18 offensive rebounds to its opponent as North Florida defeated the Hatters 74-60 in Jacksonville Saturday night.
“It was a tough loss today,” Stetson head coach Corey Williams said after the game. “We got off to a slow start, did a poor job of defensive rebounding, and we waited too long to make our charge.”
The Ospreys (10-9, 4-2) scored the first seven points of the contest and led by as many as 15 in the first half before taking a 34-23 lead into the break. UNF poured in 11 second chance points off of 14 first half offensive rebounds.
Stetson (3-14, 1-4) was able to stay as close as it did thanks to an outstanding offensive performance by junior Kentwan Smith. The wingman scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor through the first 20 minutes of play.
North Florida came out on fire again in the second half using athleticism and the three-point prowess of Beau Beech to extend the lead to 22 points, at 49-27, just over five minutes into the frame. Beech knocked down two of his four triples on the night during the stetch.
The Hatters were never able to recover fully but continued to battle back. With 13 second half points by Smith, and seven from freshman B.J. Glasford, Stetson cut the deficit to 13 points before ending the game down 74-60 to the Ospreys.
“The last 12 minutes of the basketball game, I think we played as hard as we possibly could,” said Williams. “I can’t fault my kids’ effort in the last 12 minutes, but we need to sustain that for 40 minutes.”
UNF used its 18 offensive rebounds and 10-of-25 shooting from beyond the arc to top the Hatters. The Ospreys were led by Dallas Moore with 17 points, including a trio from long distance. Charles McRoy added 16 points, while Beech chipped in with 14.
Smith finished with a career high 27 points for Stetson in the defeat. The junior went 9-of-13 from the field, shot 3-of-4 from downtown, corralled a team high seven rebounds, and threw down an incredible dunk on the break over McRoy.
“That’s the Kentwan that we recruited,” Williams said. “We knew he had that in him. Now he needs to find a way to do that every game. Maybe not score 27 points, but he definitely should be in the ballpark.”
Senior Willie Green added 11 points, and Glasford finished with a career high nine on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor. Not to go unnoticed, senior Hunter Miller played 34 minutes and helped lead the Hatters’ comeback in the second half by orchestrating the offense from the point.
Stetson returns to action on Thursday hosting ETSU. The Hatters and the Bucs are schedule to tip-off at 7:00 p.m. from the Edmunds Center.