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Hatters Drop Conference Opener in Triple Overtime
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  01/04/2008
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by: Stetson University
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Jacksonville, Fla. Stetson and Jacksonville played a very physical game Thursday night in Veterans Arena with the home team coming out on top 98-94.


The good news for Stetson was that junior guard Garfield Blair (Orlando, Fla./Boone HS) scored his 19th and 20th points on free throws to put the Hatters up by 10 points with 3:18 on the clock. It was the fourth consecutive game that Stetson’s leading scorer had surpassed the 20-point plateau. The bad news was that Blair fouled out of the triple-overtime game with 1:21 remaining in regulation and the Hatters could not hold on to the lead.


Blair however, was only the first to go as five of Stetson’s top six scorers, and four of the game’s starting five were relegated to the bench due to fouls in a very physical basketball game. Mark Lohuis (Vero Beach/Vero Beach HS), A.J. Smith (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa HS), Eric Diaz (Miami, Fla./Columbus HS), and Sheldon Oliver (Orlando, Fla./Edgewater HS) all joined Blair on the bench before the third overtime period had come to an end.


Stetson opened the game with a 16-3 run. With 8:30 remaining in the first half the Hatters went up by a game-high 19 points (27-8) when sophomore guard Brandon Williams (Miami, Fla./Mosignor Pace HS) hit a 3-pointer. The Dolphins then went on an 18-12 run and managed to knock in the final five points of the half to make the score 39-26 going into the locker room.


Stetson started out slow in the second half scoring just four points and picking up eight team fouls in the first nine minutes. The Dolphins converted seven free throws and scored 19 points in that span for a four point lead (47-43). Stetson came back to score the next 11 points and led 54-47 with 9:16 remaining.


After Blair put the Hatters up by 10 with 3:18 remaining the Dolphins worked the lead down until Ben Smith hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 73 with 34 seconds remaining. A 3-point attempt by Diaz with 10 seconds on the clock and a desperation shot by Smith at the other end both fell short and the game went into overtime.


After an even 6-6 first overtime kept the game alive, Brandon Williams tied the game on a dramatic 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining in the second extra period. As the third overtime wound down however, and Stetson’s top scorers on the bench for nearly 15 minutes, the Hatters could not hold on and were outscored 9-5.


Stetson had five players finish in double figures led by Blair’s 20 points. Smith had 17, Thomas had a season-high 15, Kris Thomas (Livonia, Ga./Dunwoody HS) had 12 and Oliver chipped in 10.


With the loss Stetson dropped to 4-10 overall and 0-1 in A-Sun play. Jacksonville upped its record to 4-8 and 1-0. Stetson will return to the court Saturday when it travels back to Jacksonville to take on North Florida at 4:15 p.m.



Stetson Men's Basketball