On January 30, 1971 Stetson defeated Miami 80-74 at home and then swept the season series with a 91-76 win in Miami on February 8. The latter game was the fifth of five consecutive victories for Stetson and the last time the Hatters defeated the Hurricanes. Miami now leads the all-time series 47-33.
Freshman forward Ridge Graham (Stuart, Fla.) did everything he could to get Stetson back in the win column narrowly missing a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Senior guards A.J. Smith (Cocoa, Fla.) and Brandon Williams (Miami, Fla.) added 11 points each.
Although the Hatters kept the game close throughout the first half, it seemed that each time they would hit a big shot, the Hurricanes would have an answer. With 8:12 remaining in the opening period Williams knocked down a three-pointer to get Stetson within four points at 20-16. Then, 18 seconds later, James Dews (Cincinnati, Ohio) buried a three to slow the momentum. After falling behind by 12, Mark Lohuis (Vero Beach, Fla.) hit a long ball with 1:47 on the clock. Miami's Dwayne Collins (Miami, Fla.) followed with a rim-shaking dunk and the visitors were back up by 11.
"I think in the first half we clicked really well", said Stetson head coach Derek Waugh. "Ridge was fantastic tonight and Brandon Williams played very well."
Collins led the Hurricanes with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Adrian Thomas (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Malcom Grant (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 11 and nine points respectively.
In the second half it looked like Stetson might build momentum for a run when freshman Tyshawn Patterson (Orlando, Fla.) hit a 3-pointer at 15:15 and reduced the deficit to 10 points at 42-32. Once again, however, Miami answered a three with a three, this time by Thomas, and was off to the races.
Miami built its lead to 27 points (69-42) with 1:40 remaining before Stetson scored the final seven points of the game with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by Williams and a layup by Lohuis.
"A lot of credit goes to Miami. Defensively we could not contain them inside and offensively we missed too many jump shots", said Waugh. "Overall however, I think we were better tonight, we only turned the ball over eight times against an ACC Opponent. We'll take some positive things from this game and move forward."
As a team Miami shot 56.5% (26-for-46) from the field and 46.2% (6-for-13) from long range. After shooting 41.7% in the first half, Stetson dropped to 33.3% from the field for the game. The Hatters did shoot 76.9% (10-of-13) from the line compared to 55.0% (11-of-20) for the Hurricanes.
Stetson dropped its first home game in front of a season-high of 2,619 screaming, supportive Hatter fans.
Next up for Stetson is a trip to Savannah, Georgia to take on Savannah State on Monday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. Murray Miller and Harry Arnold will be on hand to call the action for Hatter Vision audio. Following Savannah the Hatters will return home to enjoy the Christmas holiday and then begin the Atlantic Sun Conference schedule in earnest by hosting Florida Gulf Coast at 8:00 p.m. on December 29.