Jacksonville Sports Day

UNF: Late Threes Push Ospreys Past Panthers for 80-77 Victory

Photo by Todd Drexler/UNF

JACKSONVILLE – The FIU men’s basketball team faced North Florida at the UNF Arena on Saturday in the squad’s first road game of the 2020-21 season.

The Panthers fell to the Ospreys 80-77, snapping the team’s unbeaten streak.

North Florida redshirt sophomore Dorian James posted a personal best 19 points and pulled down a team high 7 rebounds in pacing the Ospreys to their first win of the season.

James was 7 of 9 from the floor including 1-1 from 3-point line and was also a perfect 4 for 4 at the FT line

Freshman Jonathan Aybar added a career high 17 points along with five rebounds while also blocking three shots.

Redshirt sophomore Jose Placer chipped in 18 points and sophomore Emmanuel Adedoyin had 13 points for UNF.

FIU had five players in double figures led by Tevin Brewer’s game high 23 with five three-pointers

Despite a season low 6 treys for the #BirdsofTrey, Ospreys were able to reach 80-point plateau for the first time

“We again talked before the game today about our theme for the season which is perseverance is power. I give the team three things every game related to perseverance and today the first point was sticking to the plan,” said UNF Head Coach Matthew Driscoll.

With the loss, FIU moves to 4-1 for the year while UNF posted its first win of the season.

Despite leading by nine with 13:26 remaining in the first half, FIU went into the locker room trailing North Florida 44-36.

We knew they would make some threes but I told the guys you can’t lose your mind when they make some. For much of the game we did a great job with this, but late they made some threes against us to sort of flip the game. However, we stuck to our plan and didn’t change it,” added Driscoll.

The Panthers shot 38.2% from the field and 38.5% from three, but allowed the opposition to go 51.7% from the floor during the opening frame.

Tevin Brewer scored a team-high eight points at the break, while Dimon Carrigan led the Panthers with five rebounds halfway through.

In the second half, the team’s shooting improved to 45.5% from the field, but the Ospreys continued to cruise with a 51.9 field-goal percentage.

Down 67-55 with 9:33 remaining, the Panthers rallied, and a pair of free throws by Radshad Davis tied the contest at 72 apiece. The comeback fell short however, as FIU lost to UNF 80-77.

Overall, the Panthers shot 41.8% but went just 9-26 from beyond the arc. Five Panthers scored in double figures, with Brewer leading the way at 23. Carrigan logged a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

“We just coached it a little bit better. The second thing was perseverance requires great courage. Our guys showed great courage and understanding. I’m really proud of how we rebounded the ball and how we shared the ball. I’m proud of how different guys made big plays and how we executed our stuff down the stretch. This group just needs to keep getting experience even without some of the players we are missing,” noted Driscoll.

North Florida travels Wednesday to Gainesville for a meeting with Florida in the squad’s final non-conference road contest. Following the UF game, the Ospreys close out the 2020 calendar with a pair of home clashes against Flagler (Dec. 19) and Edward Waters (Dec. 21).

FIU faces its final road opponent of 2020 when the team heads to Florida Gulf Coast for a contest on Wednesday, Dec. 16. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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