The Stetson men’s basketball team gave away an 11-point second half lead as visiting North Florida used a 22-6 run late in the game to come back and defeat the Hatters 54-52 at the Edmunds Center on Thursday night.
“What’s disappointing is that we had a 10-point lead at one point and we somehow let that get away from us,” Stetson head coach Corey Williams said after the game. “Guys didn’t compete as hard as we did to get the 10-point lead. We relaxed.”
Stetson (6-17, 4-7) turned a one-point advantage into a 43-32 lead with 11:08 to play thanks to a 12-2 run that included five points by redshirt-freshman Brian Pegg and capped by a three-pointer from senior Aaron Graham, the Hatters’ only triple of the contest.
North Florida (13-12, 7-5) tied the game at 45-45 just over six minutes later, and the Ospreys took their first lead of the second half when Dallas Moore drove the lane for a layup with 1:45 to play in the game. On the next possession UNF’s Demarcus Daniels knocked down a three to make it 54-49 with only a minute to play, giving the Ospreys a decided advantage.
After getting fouled on a three-point attempt, three straight from the stripe cut Stetson’s deficit to just two points, but after Charles McRoy missed both of his attempts at the line with eight seconds remaining, senior Hunter Miller’s final attempt caromed off the rim to give UNF the 54-52 victory.
Stetson played one of its best defensive halves of the season through the first 20 minutes, holding UNF to just 23 points and 27.6 percent from the floor. Unfortunately, the Ospreys came to life in the second, shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc to outscore the Hatters 31-26.
“They did a good job of attacking us off the dribble, and they scored,” Williams said. “We talked about it from the beginning of the game that we needed to contain dribblers and make them take tough shots. I don’t think we did that fully.”
The Hatters were held in check down the stretch, converting on just two field goals in the final 11 minutes of play. Stetson shot 40.4 percent from the floor for the game, but went just 1-of-9 from three-point range, and shot only 13-for-21 from the line.
UNF used a balanced attack led by Moore with 14 points and seven assists. The Ospreys’ 16 offensive rebounds were devastating for the Hatters, as Travis Wallace totaled four and Chris Davenport and Beau Beech tallied three each.
Pegg led the way for Stetson, scoring 14 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and corralling a career best four steals. After dealing with foul trouble much of the first half, senior Willie Green scored nine of his 13 points in the second.
Stetson will continue this weekend’s home-stand on Saturday, hosting Jacksonville. The Hatters and the Dolphins are scheduled to tip-off at 1:00 p.m. from the Edmunds Center.