Coral Gables, Fla. Ė Stetson junior and Miami native Eric Diaz led the team with 13 points yet it wasn’t enough to overcome the powerful Hurricanes. Joining Diaz in the starting lineup tonight was sophomore guard Brandon Williams who also grew up in Miami. Williams finished with season-highs in 3-point field goals with two and in scoring with six points
The University of Miami entered the game ranked #1 in the country in the RPI rating and #22 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The undefeated Hurricanes (10-0) were too big, too fast, and too strong for the Hatters on this night. Miami out shot Stetson 55% TO 32% and finished with a 46 to 26 advantage in rebounds.
“They are a very good team playing very well right now with a lot of confidence”, said Hatters head coach Derek Waugh. “We have been inconsistent. We need to regroup and get better.”
Miami took this afternoon’s news of its national ranking and used it to its advantage by coming into the game brimming with confidence. Miami started the game with a 19-4 run and built its lead to 42-25 at the half. The Hatters, who entered the game ranked #1 in the Atlantic Sun in Scoring Defense at 66.9 points per game, gave up 89 points to the streaking Hurricanes.
In addition to Diaz, Stetson’s Sheldon Oliver and Mark Lohuis scored in double-figures with 10 points each. Lohuis had a season-high four field goals in the game. Oliver, along with Garfield Blair led the team in rebounds with four.
Freshman Center Graeme Radford saw his first action since the second game of the season at UAB. In just seven minutes on the floor he hustled and played aggressive defense leading to a career-high two blocked shots.
Never to shy away from a challenge, the Hatters (2-8) are coming to the end of a very difficult pre-conference schedule. There are three games left before Stetson opens up A-Sun action at Jacksonville (1/3/2008). This Thursday the Hatters travel to Savannah, Ga. to play Savannah State. After Christmas on December 29 Stetson will play Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia and then return home to host Charleston Southern on New Year’s Eve.