The eighth seeded Stetson men’s basketball team will travel to Fort Myers to take on top seeded Florida Gulf Coast in the Atlantic Sun Conference Quarterfinals Tuesday night. The Hatters and the Eagles are scheduled to tip-off at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN3 and the Hatters Radio Network.
After clinching a berth to the A-Sun Tournament for the second straight season, first-year head coach Corey Williams knows that as long as they’re in they have a chance.
“You’re non-conference season has ended, and now your conference season has ended, so really every team is 0-0,” Williams said after practice Monday morning. “Now it just comes down to which team can win three games. Those three games are not always given to the best team. They go to the team that takes it.
“We’re not saving anything at this point,” continued Williams. “On Tuesday, they’re going to get our best shot.”
Stetson (7-23, 5-13 A-Sun) comes in having lost six straight games to end the regular season slate, but the Hatters had success against FGCU the last time these two teams met. On Jan. 31 the Eagles’ Bernard Thompson hit a three-pointer with two second left to secure a 71-68 FGCU victory in Fort Myers.
“That’s something you can go back to and say you know what, we were right there,” Williams said regarding the Hatters’ loss on Jan. 31. “A couple of plays here and there and maybe the outcome is totally different. It’s good that we had some success there because that gives us confidence that if we play well enough we have a chance to win.”
The Eagles (20-11, 14-4 A-Sun), who shared the A-Sun Regular season title with Mercer, have won eight of their last 10 contests and are a staggering 13-1 at home this season. Coach Williams understands that defeating the A-Sun defending champs on their own floor will be a challenge.
“Our guys understand the magnitude of this game and that we have to play well to win,” said Williams. “FGCU is experienced and they’ve been there. They know how to approach this game.
“They have a number of guys who can hit you in a number of different ways,” Williams continued. “Getting back in transition is going to be very important, as will be blocking out. We need to keep them off the glass and prevent them from getting second chance opportunities.”
A Stetson victory would put the Hatters in the A-Sun Semifinals for the second straight season. Last year they defeated ETSU in the quarterfinals as the number three seed before falling to second seeded FGCU in the semis in Macon, Ga.
Tuesday night’s game can be watched on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app, or listened to on WSBB AM 1230, WTJV AM 1490, and online at MyAM1230.com. Live Stats, the @StetsonMBB Twitter feed, and Hat-Alerts will also be available for in-game updates.
Go to FGCUAthletics.com for ticket information.