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Second Half Surge Falls Just Short as Hatters Fall to Seminoles
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  11/21/2008
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Eric Diaz scored 14 points vs. Seminoles.
by: Stetson University
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Tallahassee, Fla. Down by 16 at the half, Stetson mounted a spirited comeback to lead by as much as seven points in the second yet could not hold on and dropped a 79-77 decision to Florida State Thursday night in Tallahassee. A.J. Smith (Cocoa, Fla.) scored 13 second half points including three 3-pointers to inspire the run.


Smith made a layup with 42 seconds left in the game to get the Hatters to within two points. After a defensive stop at the other end Stetson had one last opportunity with nine seconds left to tie the game or win it with a 3-pointer. After driving the length of the floor Smith made a move for the basket and a layup in an attempt to draw a foul. There was plenty of contact yet as was the case most of the night the Hatters could not get a call from the ACC officials and the game ended. 


Garfield Blair (Orlando, Fla.) led Stetson with 19 points and seven rebounds. Kris Thomas (Lithonia, Ga.) scored 16 points shooting 6-for-14 from the field and 4-for-7 from long distance. Smith finished with 14 points and six assists. After shooting a perfect 10-for-10 from the line in the first two games, he was 1-for-2 tonight.


“We found our offensive Rhythm in the second half. I thought our guys gave a fantastic effort. I am really proud of them, we just couldn’t quite get it done,” said Head Coach Derek Waugh. “I think the difference in the game was that they (FSU) were able to do a great job focusing in and knocking down their free throws. When you get outscored by 20 points at the line by a very good team it is tough to win.”


Florida State finished the game shooting 28-of-34 (.824) from the line, while Stetson had just 13 opportunities and shot 8-for-13 (.615).


To open the game both teams came out a bit tentative Stetson went into the first media timeout down 7-4 scoring on a layup by Blair and a follow by Sheldon Oliver (Orlando, Fla.). In an effort to slow the Seminoles’ attack in the paint Tim Lang (Victoria, Australia) committed two early fouls relegating him to the bench and opening up the middle.


Stetson, however, went on a 10-5  run up to the second break sparked by a pair of 3-pointers by Thomas and another by Brendan Williams (Miami, Fla.) from well beyond the arc to take a 14-12 lead.


Shortly after re-entering at 9:55 Lang stopped a breakaway yet picked up his third foul effectively taking him out of the game. Fellow Aussie Graham Radford (Victoria, Australia) entered as his replacement and played some inspired basketball. At 8:30 he hit his first basket of the season following an Oliver miss, and at 7:34 he stepped in to take a charge from Xavier Gibson. Blair followed with a 3-pointer and the visitors had a 24-21 lead with 7:24 on the clock.


For the remainder of the first half, however the momentum switched back to the Seminoles. FSU went on a 22-3 run and went into the locker room up 43-27. The key statistic in the half was a 21-2 advantage in free throw opportunities. FSU was 18-for-21 while the Hatters were just 1-of-2. Stetson was whistled for 13 fouls, Florida State just seven.


Stetson opened the second half with a 32-23 run to achieve its seven-point lead with 8:47 remaining. Coming down the stretch a key moment occurred when with just over four minutes remaining. The officials took a Stetson 3-pointer off the board and that shifted the momentum back to the Seminoles. A decision was made that the clock should not have been re-set after the previous shot. Stetson went from up by four to down by six in the ensuing minute and a half.


In addition to Blair, Thomas, and Smith, Eric Diaz (Miami, Fla.) was a double-figure scorer with 14 points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 from the line. As a team Stetson shot 57% in the second half and 43% for the game.      


The Hatters return home to host Johnson & Wales Monday night at 7:00 p.m. in the Edmunds Center. It will be the second Honor Roll Night as Stetson recognizes the Honor Roll students from West Volusia County in grades K-8. The voices of Stetson men’s basketball Murray Miller and Harry Arnold will broadcast the action; their play-by-play and analysis can be heard through Hatter Vision at, the official online home of Stetson Athletics.


Tickets are available on line at For more information call the Stetson University Ticket Office at (386) 822-8110 or email at


Stetson Men's Basketball