The Stetson men's basketball team (2-6) dropped its final
home contest before a five-game road trip on Sunday afternoon, falling to Florida
International (3-3) by a score of 82-79.
Senior Adam Pegg recorded his first double-double of the season, while
junior Hunter Miller netted a career high 12 points in the loss.
"This is two games in a row that our guys have really played
with a lot of energy, and effort, and togetherness, and all the things you have
to have to be a good team...with nothing to show for it," Stetson head coach
Casey Alexander said after the game.
"The 'nothing to show for it' is not because we're not good
enough," Alexander continued. "It's
because we continue to make way too many mistakes. Sometimes energy and effort
carry you through when you don't play well, but most of the time you fool
yourself into thinking that it will.
These last two games are perfect examples [of that]. We just made too many mistakes, on both ends
of the floor, but especially defensively."
The Hatters got out to a quick 6-1 lead through 2:40 after a
pair of drives by junior Chris Perez and a layup by Pegg. FIU countered with a 10-3 run, capped by a
three-pointer from Jerome Frink, giving the Panthers their first lead of the
game, at 11-9 with 14:27 to play in the first.
Seven straight points by FIU midway through the period
extended the Hatter deficit to five points, at 21-16, but Miller knocked down a
trey for his first points of the game to stop the bleeding.
After the Panthers once again built their lead to six
points, at 29-23 on a three-pointer from Juan Ferrales, it was a Miller layup
off of a perfect back door pass from Perez, and then a triple from Perez that helped
get Stetson back in the game, at 29-28 with 4:20 remaining in the half.
A fast break dunk by Tola Akomolafe was the final score of
the period, giving FIU a 36-31 lead at the break. The Panthers used their defensive pressure to
force Stetson into 10 first half turnovers, which led to 15 of the Panthers' 36
points at the intermission.
An 8-2 Stetson run, beginning just over four minutes into
the second half when junior Willie Green converted on a traditional three-point
play with a dunk on the break and a free throw, cut the Hatter deficit down to
just two points, at 47-45 with 14:06 to play.
A quick-countering three by Malik Smith, one of six on the
day for the guard, halted the Hatter run.
Stetson soon made another push, though, recording a 12-3 run that gave
the Hatters a 59-55 lead, the team's first since 16-15 at the 10:23 mark in the
The stretch began once again with a Green dunk, this time
off of an assist from Perez, but four straight points from Pegg, a triple by
senior Joel Naburgs, and run-capping conventional three-point play from junior
Aaron Graham also contributed to the Stetson effort.
It was once again an FIU three that shifted the
momentum. Gaby Belardo knocked one down
from beyond the arc, and just 20 seconds later finished a layup on the break to
give the lead back to the Panthers, at 60-59 with 9:10 to play.
The two teams traded baskets for much of the second half,
but after Stetson tied the game at 69-69 on a pair of free throws by Perez, FIU
used a three-point play from Tymell Murphy to take their final lead of the game
and go on to the 82-79 victory.
Stetson dropped its fifth straight game despite outscoring
FIU 46-20 in the paint, and recording at least 20 assists for the third time
this season. The Panthers, however,
scored 24 points off of Stetson's 16 turnovers, and outscored the Hatters 40-9
off the bench.
Perez led Stetson with a season high 22 points, just two shy
of his career high. Pegg added 14 points
and 12 rebounds, marking the center's first double-double of the season, and
the third of his two-year career with the Hatters.
Green and Miller chipped in with 12 points each. Miller, whose 12 were a career high for the
point guard, also dished out a team-high five assists. Naburgs finished with 10 points and four assists
on the night, giving Stetson five players in double figures for the first time
"I'm proud of Hunter," Alexander said. "It's great to see a guy, when he gets his
opportunity to play more and contribute more, be ready, step in, and
deliver. Especially when you know it's a
guy who is completely a team first guy.
He's always going to do whatever he can to help the team win. He gave us a great lift tonight with his
effort and with his performance."
Smith led the Panthers with 29 points on six threes, and was
9-of-11 from the free throw line.
Akomolafe led FIU with nine rebounds, while Murphy finished with 11
points and a game high nine assists.
Stetson will now begin a five-game road trip that begins at
Richmond on Saturday, Dec. 15. That game
can be heard live on WSBB 1230 AM in New Smyrna, 1490 AM in DeLand, and online
Hatter Vision users
returning customers, please login here.