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Willie Green had career-high for points (17) and rebounds (10) in Monday's win over UNF.
by: Jim Hogue Photos
Green Powers Hatters To Win Over UNF
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  01/09/2012
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Stetson sophomore forward Willie Green picked a perfect time for a coming out party.

The Orlando native posted career-high for points and rebounds, and had a pair of blocked shot to thwart a late come back effort and help the Hatters preserve a 68-64 victory over North Florida Monday afternoon at the Edmunds Center.

Green finished the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots to lead the Hatters to their second consecutive win. Stetson improved to 7-9 overall with the victory and, more importantly, 4-2 in Atlantic Sun Conference play.

North Florida falls to 9-9 overall and 3-2 in league play.

“Willie was unbelievable,” Stetson coach Casey Alexander said. “We challenged those guys before the game to contribute in the way that they can contribute the most. Willie just responded in an unbelievable way. He had four offensive rebounds that he scored on all four. He provided a great lift for our team to get easy baskets in that way.”

Green got most of his points within inches of the rim, including four dunks.

“I had a lot of fun out there,” Green said. “My teammates had a lot of fun out there. We gave it all that we had and came out of here with a W tonight. I have been overdue for a couple of dunks because it has been a couple of games since I had one.”

Green said that his role for the Hatters is to be a hustling defender, rebounder and shot-blocker, and that helped him be in position to score against UNF.

“The putback dunks were just hustling for the rebound,” Green said. “I have accepted my role on this team as a rebounder and I am going to do that to the best of my ability. Another one of my roles is as a shot-blocker and defensive player and I take pride in that. I felt like I had to go get that block.”

Stetson appeared on the verge of putting the game away mid-way through the second half when Green converted a pair of free throws to put the Hatters up by 10 points, 57-47, with 8:36 left to play.

But no wins have come easy for the Hatters this year, and this one was no exception. UNF guard Jerron Granberry got hot from the outside, knocking down a trio of three-pointers to bring the Ospreys back to within striking distance.

UNF’s leading scorer, Parker Smith, was quiet for most of the night, but his three-pointer with 36 seconds left cut the Stetson lead to 65-64. The Ospreys, however, were unable to score again.

“I am pleased because they are a really tough and physical team that draws a lot of fouls and shoots a lot of free throws,” Alexander said. “Even their shooters, Granberry and Smith, do a great job of drawing fouls and we didn’t foul those guys all night. I thought we did an excellent job of contesting shots without fouling.”

Where the Hatters struggled defensively was in the paint, where the Ospreys were able to get several baskets on back-door cuts and power moves in the post. Forward Travis Wallace scored 16 points off the bench, hitting 8-of-10 from the floor, mostly in the paint against Stetson center Adam Pegg.

Pegg, who came in averaging 16.5 points over the last five games, was held to nine points and just one rebound before fouling out. He played only 19 minutes in the game.

“Adam did not have his best day,” Alexander said. “He was a little frustrated, I thought, on both ends of the floor. For us to find a way to have some other guys contribute when Adam has been the rock for us over the last couple of weeks is a big lift for our team.”

The Hatters also got a lift from the fact that they only had 10 turnovers, a season-low, in the game.

“Ten turnovers is a phenomenal day for us,” Alexander said. “We have been coaching them the same way all year, but tonight we did a better job of taking care of the ball. Also, they did not pick us up full court and they didn’t pressure us a lot because that is not how they play. They do a great job of doing what they do, we are just lucky it was not what we are not good at.”

In addition to Green, the Hatters got 13 points from Chris Perez.

Stetson will now get a few days to rest after having played six games in the last 12 days. The Hatters will go on the road next weekend for face A-Sun favorite Belmont on Saturday and Lipscomb, who is coming off a victory over the Bruins, next Monday.

“It will not be an easy trip,” Alexander said of returning to the city where he played and then coached for 16 years. “There will be a lot of teams go in there and not be able to scratch in the win column. All you can do is prepare the same way you would for anyone else. You have to game plan well and have high expectations to win the games.”

Stetson Men's Basketball