Smith led all scorers with 21 points while Williams added career-highs with12 points and seven assists. Freshman Tyshawn Patterson (Orlando, Fla.) also hit double-figures with 13 points. Derrick O'Neil (Moreno Valley, Ca.) was the Eagles top scorer with 14 points. Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) led the visitors under the glass with eight rebounds.
Stetson led most of the game. FGCU made a late run getting as close as four points at 68-64 after an O'Neil jumper with 18 seconds remaining. A pair of free throws by Smith and another by Liam McInerney (Victoria, Australia) in the final seconds sealed the win for Stetson. Although the Hatters shot just 54% from the line, they hit the ones they needed after the Eagles were forced into a fouling game at the end.
"I thought a lot of guys gave us a lift tonight", said Stetson head coach Derek Waugh. "How about Liam McInerney coming down the stretch, he was 2-for-2 from the field in the game and hit some key free throws."
FGCU opened the first half with confidence and a 5-0 run before Smith drove the lane and layed one off the glass. Patterson followed with a long ball to tie the score at five three minutes into the game. The Eagles then jumped ahead by six at 12:28, yet Stetson's Joel Naburgs (Victoria, Australia) would have none of it answering with a pair of three pointers.
Stetson tied the score three times before finally taking its first lead at 5:04 on a jumper by Patterson. The Hatters would not relinquish that lead for the remainder of the game. Stetson went into the locker room up 32-25. Patterson was hot in the first half hitting 4-of-6 from the field and scoring 10 points. Williams surpassed his career-high of four assists with five in the first half alone.
The Hatters continued to control play in the second. With 15:49 on the clock Patterson dropped a smooth free throw, completed a three-point play, and put the home team up by 13 points. At 13:09 Stetson equaled the 13-point lead, its highest of the game, when Smith delivered a 3-pointer.
For the game Stetson shot an impressive 49.0% (24-of-49) from the field, its second highest effort of the season (50.0% against Palm Beach Atlantic). Defensively the Hatters held the Eagles to 28.6% (4-for-14) from 3-point range.
Next up for the Hatters is a trip to Nashville, Tennessee to face Lipscomb on Saturday at 4:15 and Belmont on Monday at 8:15 p.m. Hatter Vision will not be covering conference road games this season. Stetson fans are encouraged to go to www.atlanticsun.org and pick up the action by tuning into A-Sun TV.