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Blair Jumper Seals Win for Hatters
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  01/19/2008
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Blair hits game winner
by: Stetson University
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DeLand, Fla. Cocoa’s A.J. Smith and Orlando’s Garfield Blair combined for 37 points and propelled Stetson to a 76-74 win over Mercer University (8-10, 3-2). With the win Stetson is now 4-1 (8-10 overall) in conference play and in second place the Atlantic Sun.


With 6:45 remaining in the first half Blair hit a 3-pointer and put the Hatters up 22-20. It was a lead Stetson held on to until late in the second. At the 2:53 mark Mercer’s Brian Pfohl hit a layup to tie the score 71-71. Shaddean Aaron followed with a 3-pointer and the Bears found themselves up by three points equaling their largest lead of the night. What followed were two Stetson trips to the line sandwiched around a turnover by Aaron. A free throw by Blair and then two by Smith and the score was tied one more time at 74-74 with 1:23 on the clock.


Time wound down to six seconds when Blair hit a jumper from just inside the free throw line to give the Hatters a 76-74 lead. Mercer’s James Florence was able launch an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that just missed and bounced off the back iron.


Florence and Aaron led all scorers with 25 points each. The A-Sun’s second leading scorer at 19.2 points per game, Florence had a tough time in the first half facing the league’s #1 ranked scoring defense (69.6 ppg). Prior to halftime he shot 1-for-7 and scored just two points. In the second he regained his touch and hit 7-of-16 from the field including 4-for-11 from 3-point range.


Smith led the Hatters with 19 shooting 7-for13 from the field, 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and 3-of-4 from the line. He was followed by the team’s leading scorer Blair (15.9 ppg) with 18 points. Junior forward Eric Diaz (Miami, Fla.) was the Hatter’s leading rebounder with 10 and chipped in 11 points for the team’s second double-double of the season.


Tonight’s win was Stetson’s fourth in a row and 6th in the last eight games. It is the first time since head coach Derek Waugh took over the program in 2000-01 that the Hatters have started 4-1 in conference play.


Next up for Stetson is a non-conference rematch against Longwood University on Monday. Stetson fell 78-76 to the Lancers a few weeks ago in Farmville, Virginia. Mercer returns home to Macon to host Lipscomb University on January 24.

Stetson Men's Basketball