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Hatters Hold Off Florida Gulf Coast For Overtime Win
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  02/23/2008
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Kris Thomas was a perfect seven for seven from the field en route to a...
by: Steve Simoneau
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DeLand, Fla. Sophomore guard A.J. Smith (Cocoa, Fla.) scored seven of his 10 points in overtime to lead the Stetson men’s basketball team (14-15, 9-5 Atlantic Sun) to a 69-66 victory over visiting Florida Gulf Coast (9-19, 5-9 A-Sun) Saturday night at the Edmunds Center.  Junior guard Kris Thomas (Lithonia, Ga.) made all seven of his field goal attempts to finish with a season-high 18 points.


The Hatters raced out to a 40-22 halftime lead thanks in large part to Thomas, who shot six for six, including four for four from three-point land, to finish the half with 16 points, twice as many as any other player in the game.


Florida Gulf Coast, which arrived 90 minutes late at the Edmunds Center due to unforeseen travel issues, apparently found its legs in the second half.  The Eagles cut an 18-point deficit down into single digits with six minutes left and held Stetson off the scoreboard the final 2:22 of regulation, erasing a seven-point Hatter lead.  Casey Wohlleb drained a three-pointer with 30 seconds left to complete the comeback and tie the game.


Stetson had a chance to win at the buzzer but an off-balance three-pointer by junior forward Eric Diaz (Miami, Fla.) would not fall, necessitating the extra session.  FGCU took its first lead since the opening seconds 16 seconds into overtime when Chad Lutkenhaus made two free throws after being fouled by sophomore forward Sheldon Oliver (Orlando, Fla.)


That was the point of the game when Smith took over and carried the Hatters.  After being fouled, he sank two free throws to tie the game; on the ensuing possession Smith grabbed the defensive rebound and took the ball coast-to-coast for the basket that put Stetson back ahead to stay, 64-62 with 3:35 left in OT.  Smith put the exclamation point on Stetson’s fifth home conference win in six tries with a breakaway dunk in the final seconds off an assist from sophomore guard Mark Lohuis (Vero Beach, Fla.)  It was Lohuis that grabbed the defensive board on Delvin Franklin’s three-point try for the tie.


Thomas made his only basket in the second half, a layup, to complete his perfect night and lead four Hatters in double figures.  Oliver finished with 11 points and six rebounds while Smith scored 10 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out five assists.  Diaz was the final member of that quartet, scoring 10 points, grabbing six boards and blocking three shots.


Wohlleb had a strong game for the Eagles, finishing with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists.  Terike Barrowes added 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals while Rob Quaintance scored 12 points, dished out six helpers and frustrated the Hatters all night by ripping off seven steals.


Stetson continues its regular season-ending three-game homestand when it hosts North Florida Thursday at 8:15 p.m. in the nightcap of a doubleheader; the Stetson and UNF women’s teams collide at 6 p.m. that evening.  Harry Arnold and Murray Miller will call all the action in the men’s game; their commentary along with live video can be found on Hatter Vision at the official online home of Stetson Athletics,

Stetson Men's Basketball