DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Stetson men's basketball team (2-4) allowed Bethune-Cookman (3-6) to shoot 63.5 percent from the field and lost by a score of 86-63 on Monday evening in Daytona. Senior Adam Pegg led the Hatters with 17 points in the defeat.
"They played harder, and they played better," Stetson head coach Casey Alexander said following the game. "There really isn't any other explanation needed. They played better in every facet of the game. We picked things up a bit in the second half, but we dug too big of a hole to start."
The Wildcats used an up-tempo style and lights out shooting from beyond the arc to take the early advantage over the Hatters. B-CU forced Stetson into turnovers on its first three possessions, and five within the first five minutes of play to jump out to an 11-3 lead.
B-CU hit on 5-of-7 three-point attempts by the 7:14 mark, including a pair from a couple of feet beyond the arc, to extend its lead to 33-15 over the Hatters. Senior Kevin Dukes was a perfect 3-for-3 during the stretch.
Stetson trailed by as many as 25 points in the first half, as the Wildcats scored nine straight points to take a 42-17 lead on Dukes's fourth triple of the period with 2:49 remaining. B-CU went on to hold a 46-23 halftime advantage.
The Hatters committed 12 turnovers during the opening frame, which was more than entire games against Miami (11) and USF (9). Junior Willie Green led Stetson with six points, while Pegg added four during the half.
Stetson came out determined to cut into the deficit in the second half, and did so by limiting turnovers and getting the ball inside to Pegg. The Hatter center scored seven out of the team's first 13 points to start the frame, helping to trim the B-CU lead to just 14 at 50-36 with 14:19 to play.
The Hatters got as close as 13 when a triple by junior Aaron Graham made it 58-45 with 10:22 to play, but the Wildcats didn't skip a beat as they produced quality possession after quality possession to increase their lead to as many as 23 twice, including the final score of 86-63.
Bethune-Cookman shot 63.5 percent from the field for the game, their highest mark in at least the last 15 years. The Wildcats finished 7-for-14 from beyond the arc. Adrien Coleman led B-CU with 29 points on 13-of-14 from the field.
Stetson was led by Pegg's 17 points, while Graham added 12 points, on three triples, and a team high four assists. Senior Joel Naburgs led the Hatters with seven rebounds and added seven points in the defeat. SU finished with 19 turnovers, managing to only lose the ball seven times in the second half.
Next up for Stetson is a two-game home-stand. The Hatters will host Florida Atlantic on Thursday, December 6 at 7:00 p.m., and Florida International on Sunday, December 9 at 2:00 p.m.