KENNESAW, Ga. - The Stetson men's basketball team (4-9, 1-1) evened its Atlantic Sun Conference record with a road victory over Kennesaw State (1-13, 0-2) on Wednesday. The Hatters scored the final 10 points of the game to top the Owls 70-60 in the final contest of a five-game road trip.
With 2:40 left in the game, senior Adam Pegg stole the ball from Kennesaw's Myles Hamilton and fed junior Chris Perez for a layup on the break to give Stetson a 60-54 lead. Four straight points by the Owls' star Markeith Cummings and a jumper by Hamilton tied the game at 60-60 with just 1:29 to play in the contest.
With their backs against the wall, the Hatters went through the flow of their offense to find Pegg in the post for his fifth basket of the game. The center powered through a Kennesaw State foul to score the bucket and then converted the three-point play at the free throw line to start the late Hatter rally.
"The best part of the and-one was that it came through execution of the offense," Stetson head coach Casey Alexander said. "We want Adam to stay under that defender. [Junior] Aaron [Graham] caught it ready to feed, he made a good pass, Adam expected somebody to be there to help, and he played through it, and he got us a huge three-point play."
The Owls missed a three-pointer on their next possession and Perez connected on a second-straight conventional three-point play to give the Hatters a late six point lead. With a couple of defensive stops, and a 4-for-4 final 20 seconds from the free throw line for senior Joel Naburgs, Stetson concluded its 10-point run and went on to win 70-60.
The Hatters shot the ball efficiently all night, going 25-of-41 (61.0%) from the floor and 8-of-15 (53.3%) from beyond the arc. The field goal percentage marked the first time Stetson shot 60 percent or better since a road win at USC Upstate on Jan. 8, 2011.
Kennesaw State was able to stay in the game by forcing Stetson into 18 turnovers, which the Owls turned into 20 points, and grabbing 14 offensive rebounds. KSU scored 11 second chance points, and held Stetson to just four offensive boards.
"I think it was completely the reason they were able to stay in the game," Alexander said of KSU's offensive rebounding. "They got all of them, and I know they didn't get a lot of first shot scores. We were much better defensively."
Working off of its defensive success against Mercer on Monday, Stetson held Kennesaw to just 39.3 percent (24-of-61) shooting from the floor and a dismal 18.8 percent (3-of-16) shooting from three-point range.
The only Owl who had much success shooting the ball was Aaron Anderson, who went 5-of-10 from the floor and scored 12 points. Cummings led Kennesaw State with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Hamilton finished with team highs of three assists and four steals.
Perez led the Hatters with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field, while adding six rebounds and a team-best three steals. Graham added 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor, including three triples.
Pegg chipped in with 14 points and a game high eight rebounds. Naburgs gave Stetson four players in the double figures, totaling 12 points, including his 4-of-4 free throw shooting to end the game.
The Hatters, now 1-1 in A-Sun play, will return home for the first time since Dec. 9 to host North Florida on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 3:15 p.m. Stetson will then welcome Jacksonville to the Edmunds Center on Monday, Jan. 7 before heading back on the road to take on ETSU and USC Upstate.