MACON, Ga. - The
Stetson men's basketball team (15-15) used an 18-1 run midway through the game
to defeat ETSU (10-22) by a score of 67-46 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic
Sun Conference Championship at Hawkins Arena on Thursday. It marked the first A-Sun Tournament win for
the Hatters since 2006.
"I'm proud of our team for just sticking with it," Stetson
head coach Casey Alexander said after the win. "It feels great. There are 10 of
us in the league, and after tonight there will only be four of us still
playing. I'm proud of our guys."
Stetson, which recorded its largest margin of victory in the
A-Sun Tournament since 1992-93, held ETSU to just 25.4 percent shooting for the
game, setting a new tournament record for field goal percentage defense. The Bucs' 46 points on the game tied the
Hatters' season best for scoring defense. It didn't start out so well for
The Bucs had things going their way in the first half,
slowing the Hatters down with their zone defense, and taking advantage of 10
Stetson turnovers. ETSU shot just 25.0
percent from the floor, but grabbed eight offensive rebounds to take a 24-21
lead at the break.
ETSU used a 10-1 run to turn a 15-14 Stetson lead with 17:25
remaining into a 24-16 Buccaneer advantage with just 1:45 to play in the
frame. Freshman John Walton came off the
bench to score five points during that stretch to extend the ETSU lead to eight
late in the first.
A difficult bucket in the lane by senior Adam Pegg was
followed by a much needed defensive stop by the Hatters as the final minute of
the half approached. A second straight
post basket by the all-conference center was followed by a steal from junior
Aaron Graham. Junior Willie Green then knocked
down 1-of-2 free throws to cut the Stetson deficit to just three points at
Stetson came out with energy to start the second half as a
tip-in by Green opened up the frame.
After a single free throw by sophomore Rashawn Rembert, Stetson scored
11 straight points, capped by a pair of free throws from junior Hunter Miller
to give the Hatters a 34-25 lead with 14:11 to play.
The Hatters weren't done then. Two free throws by Pegg were the culmination
of a 36-6 run by the Hatters that began with the senior's layup with 1:26 to
play in the first half. The stretch gave
Stetson a 52-30 lead with 7:02 to play.
Unlike the last time these two teams met, when ETSU overcame
a 20-point deficit to top the Hatters in DeLand, Stetson didn't give up
ground. Defensive stop after defensive
stop, and handling the ball much better on the offensive end, allowed the
Hatters to cruise to the 67-46 victory.
Stetson turned the ball over just six times in the second
half, giving the Hatters 16 for the game.
The team finished 48.9 (22-of-45) percent from the floor, but just 27.8
(5-of-18) from three-point range. The
Hatters overcame 12 offensive rebounds for the Bucs by outrebounding them 43-30
Efficiently dealing with early second half foul trouble for
Pegg and second team all-conference junior Chris Perez, Stetson received
contributions from a number of players on Thursday. Pegg finished the game with a game high 17
points on 6-of-9 shooting, and added nine rebounds.
Senior Joel Naburgs added 16 points, including two
three-pointers, while grabbing five rebounds, and dishing out four
assists. Green led the Hatters with 13
rebounds and chipped in 13 points for his third double-double of the year. The junior forward also added three blocks in
Stetson now moves onto the semifinals for the first time
since the 2005-06 season, and will take on second seeded Florida Gulf Coast
(22-10) Friday at 8:00 p.m. The game
between the Hatters and the Eagles will be featured on CSS and ASun.TV, and
will be available on ESPN3 for viewers outside the CSS footprint. Fans can also listen live on WSBB 1230 AM,
1490 AM, and at MyAM1230.com.
Notes: This marked the
first appearance in the A-Sun Tournament for Stetson since 2008-09...It was the
first win since 2005-06, a 54-44 defeat of Florida Atlantic...This was the
Hatters' first A-Sun Tournament win against ETSU (1-2 overall)...The win marked
the first for the #3 in the quarterfinals since 2009, and just the second over
the last eight tournaments...It was the first A-Sun Tournament victory for Casey
Alexander as a head coach...He previously won four Championships as an assistant
coach for Belmont...Holding ETSU to 25.4 percent marked a new A-Sun Tournament
record...The previous best was 29.6 percent when Stetson held FAU to 16-of-54 in
2006...Green's 13 rebounds were a career high, topping his previous best of 11, recorded four times.
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