JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -
Leading by as many as 13 points in the second half, the Stetson men's
basketball team (6-10, 3-2) endured a seven minute span without a basket late
in the contest to defeat ETSU (3-13, 1-2) by a score of 72-70 on the road
Thursday night. Junior Chris Perez and
senior Adam Pegg led the Hatters with 17 points each.
"I'm really proud of our guys for finishing it out," Stetson
head coach Casey Alexander said. "It wasn't pretty, and we didn't do things
well at all down the stretch - we need to improve on that - but we're happy to
get a win. That's two in a row on the road in the conference, that's three out
of our last five road wins, and I think it's four out of seven overall that we've
won. For a team that was down in the
dumps after losing six in a row, that shows a little bit of medal for our guys
to come back and do what they've done lately."
Playing against a zone most of the game, Stetson opened the
scoring with a pair of three-pointers and knocked down eight treys in the first
half alone. After the Bucs eventually
tied the game at 8-8, the Hatters used a 14-2 run to take a 22-10 lead with
9:17 to play in the first half.
Senior Joel Naburgs ignited the run with a three that gave
Stetson a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the game. Sophomore Dennis Diaz closed the stretch,
stealing the ball away from ETSU's Rashawn Rembert, and converting a
conventional three-point play on the break to give the Hatters the 12-point
advantage early in the game.
The Bucs fought back with a 10-3 run that cut the Stetson
lead to five points, at 25-20, but four threes down the stretch, including one
from Perez with just four seconds remaining, gave the Hatters a 40-32 lead at
Pegg opened the second half scoring with a layin to give
Stetson a double-digit advantage, but it was a multitude of mini runs that
swayed the Hatter advantage from 11 to five points throughout the first 10 minutes
of the second frame.
A floater in the lane by junior Aaron Graham opened an 8-2
run that gave Stetson its largest lead of the game, a 13-point advantage at
67-54 with 7:16 to play. It was after
the last basket of the Hatters' mid-period surge, another three by Perez, that
Stetson began its offensive lull.
The Hatters went without a basket from the 8:11 mark in the
second half to only 1:13 remaining in the contest. That was when Stetson finally found Pegg in
the paint for an easy two to stop 10-0 ETSU run and give the Hatters a 69-64
Free throws down the stretch by juniors Willie Green and
Hunter Miller made it so a three-pointer by Rembert and a last second dunk by
ETSU's Lester Wilson allowed the Hatters to hang on to the 72-70 victory on the
"It's nice to get out to a good start, for sure," Alexander
said. "You know, making your first two
threes and going up 6-0 is a real plus, but we just played with a lot of
confidence, and freely, for the first 30 minutes. But we never guarded them
very well. Eventually it caught up with us. When we quit scoring, it caught up
Pegg and Perez each totaled 17 points to lead the Hatters in
scoring, while Graham added 13 and a game high five assists in the win. Green and Naburgs added six points and four
helpers each. The latter also led
Stetson with six boards.
ETSU was led by Wilson's 21 points, a 19-point effort from
Jarvis Jones, and 16 points from Hunter Harris.
Harris added a game high seven rebounds, while Rembert led the Bucs with
four assists in the loss.
"I hope it gives us a little bit of confidence," Alexander
said of the victory. "It let's us know obviously now that we've done it twice
in a row, that we can go on the road and win.
It's going to be a different test at Upstate. They're a really good
team, and they're playing well."
Stetson will now make the trip over to Spartanburg, S.C. to
take on a USC Upstate team that lost to FGCU in overtime on Thursday night to
fall to 2-1 in A-Sun play. Fans can
watch that game on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
The game will also feature live audio on the Hatters Radio Network.
Notes: Joel Naburgs' two three-pointers give him 150 career triples. Only three players in Stetson history have made more in their careers ... With two blocks in the game, Willie Green moved into eighth place all-time with 56 in his career ... The win marks the second time Stetson has won back-to-back games this season. If the Hatters were to beat USC Upstate it would be three straight wins for the first time since 2009 ... Adam Pegg scored in double figures for the 11th straight game, and Chris Perez totaled double digit points for the 10th straight game.
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