DELAND, Fla. - Following a win at Kennesaw State to conclude its five-game road trip, the Stetson men's basketball team (4-9, 1-1) returns home to host North Florida (6-9, 1-1) and Jacksonville (7-8, 2-0) over the next couple of days. The Ospreys come to town on Saturday for a 3:15 p.m. contest, while the Dolphins will do battle with the Hatters on Monday at 5:15 p.m.
"We're really pleased with the last trip," Stetson head coach Casey Alexander said of the team's games at Mercer and Kennesaw State. "You want to win both games, but we felt like we gave a great effort for 80 minutes and gave ourselves a chance to win a road game at what most people perceive to be the best team in the league, and then capitalized on an opportunity with the road win at Kennesaw. Any time you get a win on the road in conference play, it's good.
"Now we have to hold serve at home with two teams coming in here that are trying to accomplish the same thing," Alexander continued. "It's going to be so easy from this point on to say 'man, this is a really critical game.' That's just the way that it's going to feel, so we're excited to get back out there."
The A-Sun home opener for the Hatters will be on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. against North Florida. The Ospreys are 6-9 overall after a difficult non-conference slate that included #17 Memphis, #21 Minnesota, Kansas State, Florida State, and Pittsburgh. UNF recently split to open conference play, topping Lipscomb 84-70 and falling to Northern Kentucky 65-52.
"They are definitely much more of an offensive minded team than at any point in Coach Driscoll's tenure there," Alexander said of the UNF team. "They have a lot of weapons, they're playing really fast, really getting down the floor in transition, and playing with a lot of confidence, so it will be a real challenge."
The two-game homestand continues for Stetson when Jacksonville comes to DeLand on Monday for a 5:15 p.m. tipoff. The Dolphins are 7-8 overall and swept Lipscomb and Northern Kentucky at home this past week to start A-Sun play 2-0. Jacksonville has now won three out of its last four games, but is only 1-6 in true road games this season.
"Jacksonville always plays as hard as anybody in our league," Alexander continued. "That's their staple. They're going to really compete, and regardless of score, they're going to give a great effort. They play with a ton of confidence, and they're always really physical. Defensively, they try to speed you up, so that will present a different challenge for us."
Stetson will look to build on its solid start to conference play this weekend. In their win at Kennesaw State, the Hatters shot 61 percent from the floor; the team's highest shooting percentage since an 85-67 victory over Lipscomb on Feb. 6, 2006. Stetson also showed improvement on the defensive side of the ball, holding its opponents to under 40 percent shooting in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Both games can be watched live and for free on HatterVision and ASun.TV. Live Audio will also be available on WSBB 1230 AM, 1490 AM, and online at MyAM1230.com. Robbie Aaron and Ryan Rouse will be on the call. Live Stats, the @StetsonMBB Twitter feed, and Hat-Alerts are also available for in-game updates.