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Smith and Blair Lead Hatters to Win Over Tigers
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  02/12/2009
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by: Stetson University
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DeLand, Fla. The Hatters’ dynamic duo of A.J. Smith and Garfield Blair combined for 43 points to lead Stetson (12-12) to a 66-52 win over Savannah State (12-13) Thursday night in the Edmunds Center. Smith (Cocoa, Fla.) had 23 points while Blair (Orlando, Fla.) scored 20 to go along with a game-high eight rebounds.


The Hatters finished their non-conference season undefeated at home with a 4-0 record.


Coming out of the locker room Blair was all business scoring five points in the first minute and a half and totaling 16 in the period. Smith finished what Blair had started as he added 17 to his scoring total.


After the visitors’ four point halftime lead was increased to six, the Hatters quickly worked their way back into the game. At 17:22 Eric Diaz (Miami, Fla.) delivered a put-back off an Oliver miss and the Hatters had their first lead of the game at 32-31. Blair followed with a 3-pointer and the lead was four.


The Tigers would even the score twice more in the half, yet could not retake the lead. After SSU pulled even for the second time Smith delivered a long ball from the left corner at 12:48 to make the score 40-37.


Throughout the first period the Tigers were able to get the ball inside the paint for high percentage opportunities. They shot 50% (12-for-24) from the field. The Hatters were at 39.1% hitting just nine of 23 opportunities.


Stetson turned that statistic around after the break. By the under 12 minute timeout the Hatters had assumed the advantage in accuracy from the field and finished the game with a 48.9% to 42.6% advantage.


Smith was at it again with another 3-pointer at 8:33 and the lead was 45-39 Stetson. Then, after drawing a foul and a subsequent technical called on the Tigers bench, Smith knocked down four consecutive free throws to make the score 55-45. On the night Smith was 7-for-11 from the field, 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, and 5-for-7 from the line.


Just prior to the final media timeout back to back layups by Blair and Sheldon Oliver (Orlando, Fla.) increased the lead to 11 points at 59-48 Stetson. In the end Blair scored six of the Hatters final nine points. He was 6-for-12 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line.


After a dismal 3-for-11 effort in free throws in the first half, Stetson was an impressive 12-for-14 in the second and ended up shooting 60% from the line. The Hatters were 5-for-19 for 26.3% from long range while the Tigers came up empty in that category missing all 13 attempts. Stetson out rebounded Savannah State 66-52 on the night.


Stetson returns to the Edmunds Center this Saturday to take on Kennesaw State at 7:00 p.m. and again on Monday to play Mercer. Monday is also senior day, the final home game in the careers of Garfield Blair, Tim Lang, Kris Thomas and Eric Diaz. The voices of Stetson men’s basketball Murray Miller and Harry Arnold will broadcast the action; the play-by-play and analysis can be heard on Hatter Vision at, the official online home of Stetson Athletics. The game’s video feed will also be available through A-Sun TV and 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