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Hatters Shoot Season-High Yet Can Not Pull Out Win Over Lancers
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  12/29/2007
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by: Steve Simoneau
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Farmville, Va. As a team Stetson shot a season-high 57% and leading scorer Garfield Blair (Jr., Orlando, Fla., Boone HS) hit for a career-high 27 points, yet the Hatters (3-9) fell short 78-76 on the road at Longwood University (4-12). 


Offensively Stetson looked like a team ready to burst into the Atlantic Sun season and challenge for championship. Defensively Stetson showed it still has some work to do before next week’s conference opener.


Against the Lancers the Hatters shot 56.6% hitting 30-for-53 from the field and 8-for-19 (42.1 %) from beyond the arc. They even managed a reasonable 8-for-13 (61.5%) from the free throw line. Add to those numbers a 30-to-23 rebounding advantage, eight more points scored in the paint (32-24), and a 12-to-7 lead in second-chance points, and it would appear to be an easy win for the visitors. However, the dilemma in this game was Stetson’s play at the other end of the floor, combined with some red-hot shooting from Longwood in the second half.


After the break the Lancers shot 62% from the field and 64% from 3-point range. They were led by junior guard Kevin Swecker who was 7-for-12 from the field and 5-for-7 from long distance scoring a career-high 23 points.


“We have had a problem with consistency, doing what we need to do night in and night out”, said Hatters head coach Derek Waugh. “Tonight we had trouble with our defense. We have been averaging 57 points allowed per game to non BCS schools. We come in here and we give up 78. If we give up our average we win this game by over 20.”


This was a back-and-forth game with both teams taking turns in the lead. It was a game that came down to the final moments. Longwood and Stetson were tied at 70-70 with 1:14 left after a layup by junior forward Eric Diaz (Miami, Florida, Columbus HS). Longwood’s Brandon Giles made a big three-pointer to give the Lancers a 73-70 advantage.  Giles followed with a free throw at 0:15 for a 74-70 lead until a Brandon Williams (Miami, Fla., Monsignor Pace HS) layup made it 74-72 with 0:11 on the clock.  Ryan Bogan made two free throws with eight-seconds on the clock for a 76-72 lead.  Williams then hit a 3-pointer at 0:04 to make it 76-75.  A pair of Swecker free throws at 0:03, and a 1-for-2 effort by Williams from the line at 0:01 completed the scoring and ended the game.


In addition to Blair’s offensive efforts Stetson junior guard Mark Lohuis (Vero Beach, Fla., Vero Beach HS) upped his career scoring high for the third consecutive game. Tonight he was 5-for-7 from the field and 4-for-6 from 3-point range for 14 points. His five field goals and four 3-pointers were also career highs. Williams also surpassed his career-high in field goals with three, and points with nine. Sophomore forward Sheldon Oliver scored a season-high 12 points.


The Hatters return home to play host to Charleston Southern on Monday, December 31 at 2:30 p.m. Stetson opens the conference season Thursday, January 3 at Jacksonville (7:00 p.m.).

Stetson Men's Basketball