With 24 seconds to go in the game, 15 seconds remaining on the shot clock, and the Hatters needing a basket to extend its one-point lead head coach Derek Waugh called for a timeout. Stetson set up a play for a good look at the basket. Blair drove to the basket and kicked the ball back to Tim Lang (
The Spartans made a long pass up the floor that was deflected out of bounds after almost getting picked off by Kris Thomas (
After leading by as many as nine points in the second half, Stetson dropped a game it seemed to have in-hand for most of the day.
“I thought we played well enough to win today,” said Waugh. “Our goal coming in today was to attack them from the start and I think we did that although we didn’t finish well enough inside in the second half.”
“And, the five free throws that we took, we didn’t make,” he added.
As a team Stetson was 2-for-5 from the line. The home team was called for just seven fouls in the game while the visitors were whistled 15 times. Upstate was 5-for-13 in free throws.
“This was a very, very, very, very... very disappointing loss. I thought we played well enough to win,” reiterated an exasperated Waugh.
Stetson opened the second half with a 12-5 run to lead by eight points at the first media timeout.
When the whistle blew for the under-12 timeout at 10:42 Stetson’s lead was cut to six points at 45-39. Upstate came out of its huddle and knocked down 3-of-4 free throws after successive foul calls on Stetson and the score was 45-42.
On the next possession Blair crossed the lane and answered with a stop and pop from 15 feet to continue the back and forth play by both teams.
In addition to Smith’s 17 points in the game Blair scored 12 points and chipped in five rebounds. Lang led the team under the boards with 7 rebounds and chipped in nine points.
The Hatters started the game on fire. After a 3-pointer by Smith at 17:13 and a fastbreak dunk by Blair 21 seconds later Stetson held a 15-4 lead. In the next five minutes, however Upstate went on a 14-4 run and the Hatters lead was cut to one point at 19-18.
For the remainder of the period both teams experienced cold spells from the field and exchanged periodic baskets with neither leading by more than two points. Stetson led 29-27 heading into the locker room.
A.J. Smith led all scorers with 11 points at the break. Olivier Dupiton (
The Hatters will continue its weekend road trip with a game against ETSU on Monday February 9 at 7:00 p.m. 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.