The Stetson men's basketball team (10-14, 7-6) gave away a
20-point second half lead and fell to ETSU (8-18, 6-7) by a score of 62-61 on
Saturday afternoon at the Edmunds Center.
The Hatters turned the ball over 14 times and shot just 30.4 percent
(7-of-23) in the second half.
"It's incredibly discouraging and disappointing to let that
game get away from us, and it's easy to point to the last possessions, but the
last 10 minutes of the game was where the game was lost," Stetson head coach
Casey Alexander said after the loss. "It was outrageous how inefficient we were
offensively, and how they outhustled us for loose balls and rebounds. I told our
team we got what we deserved."
The game didn't start out in such a disappointing
fashion. A three-pointer by junior
Hunter Miller gave Stetson a 3-2 lead, a lead it did not give up until the
final moments on Saturday. The long
range shooting continued to work against the Bucs' zone, as triples by freshman
Tanner Plemmons and junior Aaron Graham gave the Hatters an 18-10 lead with
12:21 left in the first half.
It was about three and a half minutes later that a bucket in
the post by senior Adam Pegg ignited an 18-6 run that gave Stetson a healthy
15-point advantage with just 1:24 remaining in the period. Pegg scored five points during the stretch, which
also included a pair of threes by senior Joel Naburgs, and one triple apiece
for Plemmons and Graham.
The two squads traded baskets before an ETSU three-pointer
by Rashawn Rembert at the buzzer made it 38-26 in favor of the Hatters at the
break. Stetson played extremely well in
the first, finishing 14-of-29 (48.3%) from the floor, 8-of-16 (50.0%) from
three, and turned it over only three times, while holding the Bucs to just 26
Stetson continued the success early in the second, using a
10-0 run to increase its lead to 20 points at 54-34 with 12:10 to play. Back-to-back buckets by Pegg, and Graham's
fourth three-pointer of the contest highlighted the run that could have put the
It didn't. The
Hatters went without a field goal for the next eight minutes and 57 seconds,
recording just two free throws as ETSU cut the Stetson lead down six points, at
55-49, with 5:12 to play. A Pegg free
throw preceded the aforementioned first basket since 12:10, a driving layup by
junior Chris Perez that increased Stetson's lead back to nine points, at 58-49
with 3:13 remaining.
The Hatters turned the ball over 11 times in the final 11
minutes of play to allow ETSU back in the game.
A layup by Hunter Harris and a traditional three-point play got the Bucs
right back in the game, but it was a triple by Rembert that pulled ETSU within
one-point, at 58-57, with 2:06 to play.
"They were more aggressive, and they trapped us on occasion,
but who cares?" Alexander said of the second half. "We made two or three turnovers
and then we got scared. We were timid to pass, catch, we quit playing offense,
which means shots weren't as good, which means shots didn't go in. I give them
a lot of credit, but you can't make 14 turnovers in a half and shoot 30
percent, and expect to be any good."
A huge three-pointer by Graham from the corner, his fifth of
the night, put Stetson back up by four points with 1:29 left, but that was the
last time the Hatters would score.
Harris connected on a layup in the post on the Bucs' next time down
court to cut their deficit down to two points.
With a pair of offensive rebounds by Perez and Graham, Stetson's
next possession lasted nearly an entire minute, but a travel by Graham
immediately after grabbing his rebound gave ETSU the ball with 16 seconds to
Similarly to the end of the first half, it was Rembert
getting the last shot off, this time a three-pointer from the right corner that
touched nothing but net to give ETSU its first lead since it was 2-0. Stetson's final attempt resulted in yet
another turnover and the buzzer sounded to give ETSU the 62-61 victory over the
"We were well aware of the many times they've already come
back on teams this year," Alexander said of the Bucs' impressive track record
in 2012-13. "Florida Gulf Coast was up 19 in the second half, and ETSU came
back and beat them by 10. We talked about it, but you have to just keep
playing. There's no excuse. It was equal
parts good by them and bad by us."
Graham led Stetson with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting from
beyond the arc. It marked the seventh
time in his career that the guard has made five triples in a game. He is now fourth all-time at Stetson with 156
career threes, trailing just teammate Naburgs (164), A.J. Smith (167), and
Kerry Blackshear (170).
Pegg added 10 points, recording double digit points for the
19th straight game, and added six rebounds. Junior Willie Green led all players with 11
rebounds, tying his career high. Naburgs
chipped in with nine points on 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
The Hatters finished with 17 turnovers, which led to 21 ETSU
points. Stetson shot 30.4 percent from
the floor, and 30.0 percent from three-point range in the second half,
recording its lowest outing in a period (23 points) since putting up just 22 in
the first half at Virginia Commonwealth on Nov. 28.
Jarvis Jones led ETSU with 17 points, but it was Rembert's
16 on 4-of-7 from beyond the arc that proved to come at the right times. Harris added 12 points and 10 rebounds, while
Walton totaled a game-high five steals in the victory.
Stetson will next head back on the road for its final road
trip of the regular season. The Hatters
play at Lipscomb on Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. local time, 7:30 p.m. Eastern, and
then make their first trip to Highland Heights, Ky. to take on Northern
Kentucky on Feb. 16 at 7:00 p.m.
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