DeLand, Fla. - In one of the most dramatic games ever played in the Edmunds Center Stetson battled Florida Gulf Coast through three overtime periods yet in the end fell short 111-103. The Hatters (6-15, 4-6 A-Sun) were able to knock down last-second shots at the end of regulation and again in overtime to extend play against the Eagles (5-13, 2-7 A-Sun). It was the first triple-overtime game for Stetson since a 98-94 road loss on January 3, 2008 against Jacksonville University.
Six Hatters scored in double-figures led by Tyshawn Patterson (Orlando, Fla.) and Joel Naburgs (Victoria, Australia) with 20 points each. Ridge Graham (Stuart, Fla.) and Steve Forbes (Clermont, Fla.) each tallied 17 points, Corey Walden (Ormond Beach, Fla.) had 14 and Luis Jacobo (Sanford, Fla.) hit for 11. For Patterson and Forbes it was a career-high scoring night. FGCU's Christopher Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland) led everyone with 29 points.
"I give a lot of credit to Gulf Coast I think they played really well tonight", said Stetson head coach Derek Waugh. "I am proud that we battled back at the end, yet I am disappointed that we fell behind and had to battle back."
Twice in the second half Stetson trailed by as many as 11 points before coming back. A Jacobo jumper with 1:43 remaining in regulation gave the Hatters their first lead since very early in the first half. The teams traded free throws coming down the stretch until a pair by Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla.) put the Eagles up 67-64 with just two seconds on the clock. During an FGCU timeout to set up its defense Coach Waugh formulated an offense for Stetson. Walden ran the baseline and inbounded a long pass that found a leaping Forbes at the top of the key. Forbes turned and nailed a 3-pointer off the glass as the buzzer sounded and sent the game into overtime. It was the first 3-pointer ever attempted by Stetson's big man. In the game Forbes added 10 rebounds to his 17 points for his first career double-double.
"Steve was fantastic tonight. Not only because he made that last shot but I just thought he was great the whole night", said Waugh. "He is really coming into his own."
The first overtime was low scoring with each team scoring just nine points. FGCU built a five point lead after an Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) jumper with 39 seconds left. With 28 seconds on the clock Walden drew a foul and hit both free throws to get the Hatters to within three at 76-73. Then, after the Eagles missed a pair of free throws on their end Stetson had another chance with 20 seconds remaining. Coming into overtime Patterson had scored just three points, yet his confidence seemed to be peaking for the first time since sitting out several games due to an ankle injury. With 10 seconds left he called for the ball and then when six seconds remained he pulled up and nailed a three-pointer to get his team into overtime number two.
"I think he [Tyshawn] played really well coming back from an ankle injury. I think he made some really big plays coming down the stretch", said Waugh.
The second extra period was a high-scoring affair with both teams adding 18 points to the scoreboard. By the time it ended Patterson had tallied eight more points including another long ball that gave Stetson a 94-91 lead with 12 seconds to play. Seven seconds later Varidel buried a three and it was off to OT number three.
By the time the game's fifth period began Stetson's two centers Graeme Radford (Victoria, Australia) and Steve Forbes had fouled out of the game along with leading scorer Ridge Graham. During the 3rd overtime point guard Corey Walden joined them on the bench and it was too much for the team to handle. Gulf Coast took advantage by getting the ball inside to its big men and then outscored Stetson 17-9 to take home the win.
Stetson shot 42.5% (34-of-80) from the field compared to 49.2% (30-for-61) for FGCU. The Hatters set a school record for 3-point attempts in a game with 41, yet was able to hit just 11 of them for 26.8%. Stetson scored 100 or more points in a game for the first time since December 16, 2001 when it defeated Belmont 106-95 in DeLand.
Stetson opened up the first half strong and had and led 8-2 following a Ridge Graham dunk at 16:53. Gulf Coast tied the score at eight and then went on a 16-5 run to take an 11-point lead with 8:13 on the clock. The Hatters scored 14 of the next 19 points to get to within a basket, yet the Eagles scored six in a row and took a 35-27 lead into the locker room.
Next up the Hatters head to Nashville, Tennessee to take on Lipscomb and Belmont. On Friday, January 28 at 8:00 p.m. the Hatters will play the Bisons and then play the Bruins Sunday afternoon, January 30 at 3:00 p.m. Stetson fans can catch the games on A-Sun TV by logging on to Hatter Vision. Also be sure to follow the Hatters on Twitter at @StetsonSID, on Facebook at Stetson Athletics, and check out the Stetson Hatters channel onYouTube.