The Hatters largely controlled the tempo against the nation’s 7th-highest scoring team in a 82-73 victory Monday night at the Edmunds Center. The Hatters canned 33 of 41 free throws to defeat the Camels and break a 4-game losing streak.
“I thought overall we did a good job of playing ball control,” said head coach Derek Waugh. “I think our defense was as good as it has been in a while and that helped us create 26 turnovers.”
Four Hatters scored in double figures to counter a monster game from Campbell’s Jonathan Rodriguez. The Camels freshman scored a game-high 30 points to go along with 12 rebounds. He was 9-15 from the floor and 12-17 from the free throw line.
Garfield Blair and Kris Thomas each netted 17 points to lead Stetson. Blair grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds and Gabe McMillen managed four steals and three assists with his 15 points. J.J. Hirst contributed 10 points, hitting 3-5 field goals and 3-4 free throws.
“We’ve had to fight through lack of confidence and I told the team today it had to be a low possession game and I think they did a good job of that,” said Waugh.
Following a sub-par performance Saturday against Gardner-Webb, the Hatters broke out to a 21-10 lead with 10:08 to play in the first half. That advantage stayed near double digits until Campbell went on a 15-3 run over the final 5:05 to suddenly go into halftime with 32-30 lead.
Stetson regained the lead early in the second half on a McMillen three-pointer and the Hatters never trailed again. A 9-2 spurt over a two-minute stretch in the middle of the second half gave the Hatters a comfortable 55-41 lead with 8:20 to play. On several occasions Campbell cut the lead to single-digits, but the Hatters 80.5% free throw shooting put the game away.
“We were just hungry for a win,” said Waugh. “Everyone who came in made a valuable contribution and it was a good locker room afterwards.”
The Hatters next travel to North Florida for a 7:00 pm tip-off Thursday night in Jacksonville.