With better luck on the offensive end and fewer exposed nerves, the Hatters could have taken the season-opener down to the wire. As it was, however, Stetson shot just 26 percent from the field and lost by a score of 68-38.
The Longhorns opened the game with a 7-0 run until the 16:02 mark when Blair was able break Stetson’s 0-6 shooting and knock down Stetson’s first points. The Hatters followed with another scoreless streak that ended at 11:26 when Kris Thomas (
Texas led by as many as 17 points in the first half before Stetson got on track and made an 11-2 run to make the score 26-18 with 42 seconds remaining. A.J. Adams, the games leading scorer with 21 points, hit a key 3-pointer with four seconds on the clock. It was a bucket that broke Stetson’s momentum and sent the Horns into the locker room on a high.
The Hatters continued their outstanding defense in the second half and kept the game close. When Tim Lang (
In the final nine minutes the Longhorns (1-0) were able to run off 21 points to four for Stetson (0-1) to seal the victory.
Smith was 2-for-4 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 from the line for his team-high 11 points. Blair added six rebounds to his 10 points. As a team Stetson was a disappointing 13-for-50 (26.0%) from the field and 4-for-19 (21.1%) from beyond the arc.
In addition to the defensive effort, the good news is that the Hatters shot 73% (8-for-11) from the free throw line. If they can increase that percentage by just a little over the course of the season they will have what it takes to compete for a conference championship in March. Although a tough night from the field, that percentage will certainly increase as the nerves settle and the team adjusts. This is a talented group that will give its fans many reasons to cheer in 2008-09.
The Hatters return home to host Bethune-Cookman Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. in the