Fort Myers, Fla. - Freshman forward Ridge Graham (Stuart, Fla.) notched 14 points, six rebounds and two steals and senior guard A.J. Smith (Cocoa, Fla.) joined him in double figures with 10 points, but the Stetson men's basketball team (5-14, 3-8 Atlantic Sun) suffered a 64-53 loss to host Florida Gulf Coast (7-13, 4-7 A-Sun) Wednesday night at Alico Arena.
Behind by double digits much of the game, the Hatters made a concerted push after the final media timeout, getting to within 55-50 on a Mark Lohuis (Vero Beach, Fla.) three-pointer with three minutes left. The Eagles, however, pushed the ball inside to forward Anthony Banks on three consecutive possessions to restore a 10-point lead with 1:06 to go. Banks finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds to drive FGCU to the victory.
Senior guard Brandon Williams (Miami, Fla.) handed out four assists and had two steals for the Hatters. Reed Baker hit four of his six three-point attempts and scored 19 points for Florida Gulf Coast; Derrick O'Neil (seven points, 10 rebounds) tied Banks for the Eagle team lead in rebounding.
"We just didn't play with enough energy tonight - you can't win on the road when that happens," said Head Coach Derek Waugh.
The Hatters are back on the road Saturday when they face long-time A-Sun rival Mercer at 3:30 p.m. at the University Center in Macon, Ga. The game will be available on A-Sun.TV.