Stetson men's basketball team (4-10, 1-2) fell to North Florida (7-9, 2-1) by a
score of 90-74 in its Atlantic Sun Conference home opener on Saturday. Senior Adam Pegg led the Hatters with 19
points in the defeat.
"That team we saw today played a heck of a game," Stetson
head coach Casey Alexander said of the Osprey's performance. "I think we had something to do with them
playing so well, but they were on a mission, and they played for 40 minutes about
as good - offensively - as anybody that I've seen in a while."
Both teams started out quickly on the offensive end. Junior Chris Perez knocked down a three-pointer
to open the scoring, but UNF quickly countered with a triple by David Jeune,
and the two teams went back-and-forth before the first media timeout left
Stetson tied with the Ospreys 12-12 through just 4:13.
After the break, senior Liam McInerney scored in the lane
off of a nice post dish by Pegg, and then sophomore Dennis Diaz hit a three to
give the Hatters a 17-12 lead with 12:45 to play. After a jumper by UNF's Beau Beech, junior
Willie Green knocked down two free throws to put Stetson back up by five with
just over 10 minutes remaining in the period.
Sharpshooting Parker Smith connected on his second
three-pointer of the game to bring the Ospreys within two, and a turnaround by Travis
Wallace tied the game at 19-19. A three
by junior Aaron Graham put Stetson back up by three points, but an 11-2 run by
UNF gave the Ospreys a six-point lead, an advantage North Florida would not
give up the rest of the contest.
Smith hit two more treys during the stretch, and another two
during a 10-2 run to end the period, leading UNF to a 47-31 lead at the
break. The school's leader in career
three-pointers made finished the half 7-of-8 from beyond the arc and a total of
"He's as dynamic as any shooter in the country," Alexander
said of Smith. "You watch as much video
as coaches are forced to watch, you quickly see that he has the potential to do
that every time he plays in a game, and he does it against some of the best
teams in the country."
The Ospreys extended their lead to as many as 23 points
early in the second half before the Hatters were able to make a push at getting
back into the game. Stetson quickly went
on a 9-2 run, beginning with a jumper by Green, ignited by a pair of post
scores by Pegg, and concluding with a triple by Graham to cut the deficit to 16
points, at 62-46 with 13:27 to play.
Unfortunately the run was halted by yet another three from
Smith. A conventional three-point play
by UNF's Andy Diaz extended the lead back to 22, which gave the Ospreys the
cushion they needed to coast to the 90-74 victory.
Smith led North Florida with 33 points on 9-of-10 from
beyond the arc, just two away from his program and conference record of 11
triples in a game. UNF's Will Wilson
tied a career-best with 12 assists, while Wallace added 23 points on 11-of-14
from the floor, and his first career three.
Stetson was led by Pegg's 19 points, 17 of which came in the
second half, but Perez and Green added 17 and 16, respectively. Graham chipped in with 14 points, while
junior Hunter Miller totaled a team high eight assists.
"We're 1-2, that's how we approach it," Alexander said of
how the team moves forward. "That's all
I care about; how we do in Atlantic Sun play. We tried to win every one prior
to this, but that's where we're going to be measured. We're 1-2, and we have a
home game on Monday. We win that and we're .500, and then we'll move onto the
Stetson hosts Jacksonville (7-9, 2-1) on Monday at 5:15 p.m.
at the Edmunds Center. The game can be
watched live and for free on HatterVision and ASun.TV. Live Audio will also be available on WSBB
1230 AM, 1490 AM, and MyAM1230.com.
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