Boiling Springs, N.C. – The Stetson men’s basketball team (9-11, 4-2 A-Sun) saw its five-game winning streak come to an end Thursday night at Gardner-Webb in a 55-50 Atlantic Sun Conference loss to the host Bulldogs (9-11, 3-3 A-Sun). Junior forward Garfield Blair (
Bridging halftime with a 20-4 run, Gardner-Webb extended its lead to 35-24 early in the second half before Hatter sophomore guard A.J. Smith (Cocoa, Fla.) knocked down his second three-pointer of the game to stop the bleeding. Tough GWU defense denied Stetson all but one field goal for approximately six minutes as Gardner-Webb led 41-29 with 10 and a half minutes remaining.
The Hatters would not be put away so easily, however. A pair of three-pointers from junior center Tim Lang (
Down four with a minute remaining, Lang had a chance to make it a one-point game but he could not get his three-pointer from the top of the key to go down. Gardner-Webb was able to make its free throws down the stretch to claim the low-scoring victory.
Besides Blair’s 21, the rest of the Hatters struggled to score. Lang had seven points while Lohuis, Smith and sophomore forward Sheldon Oliver (
Nate Blank led Gardner-Webb with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists and Matt French added 11 points and 12 rebounds. Thomas Sanders and Grayson Flittner, who came into the game averaging a combined 32.5 points per game, were held by the tough Hatter defense to a combined nine points (Sanders five and Flittner four).
The two teams traded baskets for the first five minutes until Gardner-Webb went on an 8-0 run to take a 15-11 lead with approximately eight minutes gone by in the first half. The Hatters soon tied that up thanks to Blair, who scored 10 of Stetson’s first 15 points. Back-to-back tough baskets in the paint by Sheldon Oliver and J.J. Hirst helped give the Hatters a 20-15 lead, but it was the Bulldogs’ turn to answer back with another extended run, this one 16-4, that closed out the half as Gardner-Webb took a 31-24 lead into the locker room.
Blair led Stetson with 11 points before intermission while Lang was the only other Hatter to make multiple field goals in the first half, finishing with four points. Blank came out firing for the Bulldogs with 13 points in the first half, including a trio of three-pointers. French added six points and six rebounds. Aaron Linn had seven key second-half points, finishing with nine points and 10 boards.
Stetson concludes its