Stetson Tops FAU To Advance To Atlantic Sun Semifinals
March 2, 2006
Johnson City, Tenn. ' Anthony Register scored a game-high 20 points as sixth-seed Stetson upset third-seed Florida Atlantic 54-44 Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship at ETSU's Memorial Center in Johnson City, Tenn.
The Hatters (14-17) extended their winning streak to nine in a row and will face second-seed Belmont in the A-Sun semifinals at 9:15 p.m. Friday night.? Belmont defeated Campbell 90-76 earlier in the day.
'Our guys are playing with a lot of confidence right now and tonight was our best defensive effort of the year,' Hatters head coach Derek Waugh said.? 'The team unity and togetherness is excellent.? The guys are going out each time feeling like their going to win.'
The Owls (15-13), meanwhile, were eliminated from the tournament in what was their final game as a member of the Atlantic Sun.? FAU will move to the Sun Belt Conference next season.
After Kevin Green's three-pointer gave Florida Atlantic an early 3-0 lead, the Owls went ice cold from the field.? FAU missed its next eight shots over a nine minute stretch as Stetson ran out to a 14-5 advantage.? The Owls closed the gap to four with 2:22 remaining in the half, but the Hatters finished the period on a 7-0 run to grab a 31-20 halftime lead.? Register scored 13 first-half points including a key three-pointer on Stetson's last possession of the half.
The Hatters shot 56 percent in first 20 minutes of play while the Owls were held to just 27 percent.
Stetson maintained its double digit lead through the first 11 minutes of the second half.? Back-to-back buckets by DeAndre Rice pulled FAU to within nine, but Gabe McMillen drilled a three-pointer on Stetson's next possession to put the Hatters back ahead by 12.? Neither team mustered much offense over the next five minutes, and Stetson was able to stave off a late run by FAU to preserve the victory.
Register went 7-for-12 from the field and hit a pair of three pointers to surpass the 1400-point mark for his career.
'Anthony was excellent tonight,' Waugh said.? 'If he had an open look he buried it.'
E.J. Gordon added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Hatters, who will make their first conference semifinals appearance since 2001. Gordon has scored in double figures in 15 straight games.
Rice, FAU's leading scorer, was held to 13 points.? The Owls' 44 points tied a season-low.
'Tomorrow is going to be a challenge,' Waugh said.? 'Belmont is the one team we haven't beat this year.'
Also earlier in the day, Gardner-Webb shocked host ETSU 64-63 and Lipscomb defeated Mercer 78-62.
Notes: Stetson's nine-game winning streak is the team's longest since winning 10 straight in the 1980-81 season ... The Hatters' first 24 points came on two-point field goals ... Stetson played its 31st game tonight, the most since 1990-91 and one shy of the school record ... The Hatters won just their second A-Sun tournament game in 11 tries, dating back to 1994 ... Stetson will be making its second A-Sun semifinals appearance under head coach Derek Waugh (first since 2000-01) ... With his 14 points, Gordon moved into the A-Sun's top 10 all-time leading scorers list ... Anthony Register moved into ninth place on Stetson's all-time scoring list ... The Hatters have held six teams to under 60 points this year, including FAU twice.