DeLand, Fla. – A season high 19 points from Kris Thomas (Lithonia, Ga.) went to waste as Stetson (8-11, 5-6) fell 55-53 to North Florida (4-16, 2-8) Sunday evening in the Edmunds Center. It was the third consecutive loss for the Hatters on the season and the first time ever losing to the Ospreys (7-1 all-time).
With 13.8 seconds remaining in the game Eric Diaz (Miami, Fla.) pulled down a big rebound off of a Garfield Blair (Orlando, Fla.) miss. Diaz was fouled as he went back up and went to the line with the Hatters down by one at 53-52. He tied the score by hitting the front end, yet missed the second. North Florida came up with the rebound and moved the ball into the offensive end. Stetson’s defense held them back until the last moment when Cortez Riley (Jacksonville, Fla.) leaned in from the left side of the key and hit his shot just as the buzzer sounded.
Riley finished with seven points and six assists. Eni Cuka (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) led the visitors with 17 points, Zack Riggins (Leavenworth, Kan.) chipped in 16. Blair scored 12 points to go along with nine rebounds for Stetson; Diaz had 10 points and six boards.
The game started out promising for the Hatters who jumped out to a 17-4 lead in the first six and a half minutes. The Ospreys came up with runs of 10-0 in the middle of the period and 6-0 at the end to head into the locker room down by just three points at 27-24.
Stetson opened the second half by outscoring UNF 16-7 and pushing its lead back to 12 points at 43-31 with 13:07 on the clock. Traditionally a second half team, Stetson could not work its magic tonight. For the next 7 minutes and 21 seconds the Hatters did not score a single point. A pair of free throws by Thomas allowed his team to get back to within two points at 47-45. The Ospreys had gone on a 16-0 run and taken control of the game.
Stetson led one more time 50-49 after another Thomas free throw at 2:28, and managed to tie the game on the Diaz free throw late.
The Hatters will remain in the Edmunds Center for to more games next week against Lipscomb on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Belmont on Monday at 7:00 pm. The voices of Stetson men’s basketball Murray Miller and Harry Arnold will broadcast the action; the play-by-play and analysis can be heard on Hatter Vision at www.gohatters.com, the official online home of Stetson Athletics. The game’s video feed will also be available through A-Sun TV and on Hatter Vision.
Tickets for all Stetson home games are available on line at www.gohatters.com. For more information call the Stetson University Ticket Office at (386) 822-8110 or email at Hattertickets@stetson.edu.