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Hatters Drop Final Non-Conference Road Game to Gators
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  12/30/2008
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Olivier Dupiton hit career-highs in points and blocked shots.
by: Stetson University
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Gainesville, Fla. Garfield Blair (Orlando, Fla.) picked up his third double-double of the season and led Stetson with four assists, yet it wasn’t enough as the Hatters (5-5) dropped a 78-57 decision to the Florida Gators (11-2) Tuesday afternoon in Gainesville. Florida’s top gun Nick Calathes (Casselberry, Fla.) led the way for the home team with 23 points.


One battle that Steson did win today was at the glass, particularly on the offensive end.  Florida was outrebounded 43-40, including 20 offensive rebounds for the Hatters.


"The thing Stetson does very, very well is they're an undersized, physical, aggressive team that's really a hard team to guard because they have such good drivers," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "When you get caught with bigger players trying to guard some of their smaller people, it makes it very, very hard. And then what happens is they force so much help that your blockouts and your ability to rebound the ball from rotation becomes difficult."


Last year the Hatters jumped out to an early 10-1 lead to open the game. This year it was the Gators who were hot out of the gate building up a 13 point lead at 20-7 with 11:15 remaining in the first half. Stetson, however, was not going to go down early without a fight. After 3-pointers by Blair at 9:57 and Brandon Williams (Miami, Fla.) at 8:56 the Hatters were back within five points.


Calathes hit a long ball to boost the margin back to eight, yet consecutive layups from Sheldon Oliver (Orlando, Fla.) and Eric Diaz (Miami, Fla.) had Stetson down by just four points with 7:01 on the clock. Oliver was relentless under the glass, his bucket was a result of one of his five offensive rebounds in 16 minutes of play.


The Hatters were able to get as close as 28-26 with 4:23 remaining, yet as it turned out could not carry the momentum into the final minute of the half. After the Gators increased their lead to six points with just over a minute remaining, the first half came down to a last-shot opportunity for Stetson. With a 2-second differential between the shot clock and the game clock A.J. Smith (Cocoa, Fla.) was allowed to dribble down the time just inside of the half court line. With eight seconds still remaining he pulled up for an NBA-range trey that fell short of its mark. Florida took advantage of the extra time and set up Walter Hodge (Guaynabo, P.R.) in the corner for a buzzer beater, a momentum killer, and a nine-point lead heading into the locker room.  


“Walter Hodge is a great player... I think that affected us in the second half. When it happens we can’t hang our heads. We can’t let one bad play become two bad plays,” said Head Coach Derek Waugh.


Stetson was able to get to within seven points at 16:32 of the second half before Florida went on an 18-2 run to close the door.


Blair led the Hatters in scoring with 13 points and rebounding with 10. Olivier Dupiton (Montreal, Quebec) finished with career-highs in points (8) and blocked shots (2), and pulled down a season-high five rebounds. Kris Thomas also scored eight points for Stetson.


Next up for the Hatters is a trip to Nashville to resume A-Sun Conference play. Stetson will take on Belmont on January 3rd at 5:15 p.m. and Lipscomb on the 5th at 9:15 p.m. The voices of Stetson men’s basketball Murray Miller and Harry Arnold will broadcast the action; their play-by-play and analysis can be heard on Hatter Vision at, the official online home of Stetson Athletics. The game will also be available through A-Sun TV on Hatter Vision.


Tickets for all Stetson home games are available on line at For more information call the Stetson University Ticket Office at (386) 822-8110 or email at


Stetson Men's Basketball