DeLand, Fla. Ė Senior Gabe McMillen (Largo, Fla.) led the Hatters an 88-74 victory over Savannah State Tuesday evening at the Edmunds Center.
McMillen scored a career-high 23 points thanks in large part to an 18-19 for the night at the line. Sophomore Tim Lang (Victoria, Australia) also had a career night with 20 points and a perfect 10-10 performance from the line. The last time a Hatter had a perfect night from the charity strip was December 23 against Savannah State when McMillen shot a perfect 5-5. The Hatters 88 points top their previous season high of 85 from December 30 against Skidmore College.
Savannah State took control of the game early in the first half, going up by as much as five points on a three pointer by Michael Bennett with 13:16 remaining. The Hatters tied the game at 12 on a jumper by Lang with fewer than 12 minutes to go. Stetson would not take the lead until the eight minute mark when sophomore Garfield Blair (Orlando, Fla.) put his team up by two with a trip to the free throw line.
Savannah State immediately put up a three pointer to take back a lead they would not relinquish until freshman Sheldon Oliver (Orlando, Fla.) put up two from the charity strip. With four minutes remaining the Hatters took a five point lead, their largest lead of the half, on a lay-up by Lang.
After a three by the Tiger’s Joseph Flegler gave the game its sixth tie, Chris Linton gave SSU 34-33 advantage going into the locker room by making one of two shots at the line with five seconds remaining
In the second half the Tigers kept the lead for the first 12 minutes. Fouls shots by Lang and a three pointer by freshman A.J. Smith (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) put the Hatters back in the lead by seven and from there Stetson never looked back.
A frustrated Tigers team put McMillen at the line for four free throws, after a technical foul was given to Savannah State’s Joshua Obiajunwa. McMillen pulled off all four to give the Hatters a 10 point lead with 8:39 left in the game.
Fouls and turnovers became the pattern for the Tigers at the end of the game. Savannah State sent the Hatters to the line nine times in eight mintues to allow Stetson to build its lead. McMillen and Lang traded appearances at the line and put the Hatters up by 18 with 1:49 to go. A three pointer by junior J.J Hirst (Okeechobee, Fla.) with: 56 seconds remaining gave Stetson a 19 point lead, the largest of the night.
Next up Stetson hosts North Florida on Thursday, February 15 at 7:00 pm in the Edmunds Center.