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Missed shots cost UNF Men’s Basketball a brutal loss to FGCU at home

UNF men’s basketball faced off against an in-state conference opponent at home Wednesday evening, with the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles taking the road win in dominant fashion 79-60.

The Eagles started strong in the first half, quickly putting the Ospreys on their heels with a 9-2 run mostly caused by UNF’s mistakes, more specifically, a pair of turnovers given up by Jaylen Smith and Nate Lliteras.

Despite Jah Nze and Jake Van der Heijden finding some success from three-point range, which ultimately ended FGCU’s large run, a barrage of threes from Isaiah Thompson, Zach Anderson and Cyrus Largie allowed Florida Gulf Coast to keep a sizable lead and enter halftime up by eight, 39-31.

After halftime, things only got worse for North Florida. Early steals from Thompson and Dakota Rivers increased FGCU’s lead to 15 in the first three minutes, 51-36. 

The Eagles’ lead only continued from this point. Missed shots plagued the Ospreys throughout the second half, and FGCU extended their lead to well over 20 points, largely due to three-point success from Thompson at the top of the wing.

Missed shots heavily cost the Ospreys, as FGCU increased their lead to over 20 points. (Rachel Bacchus)

This proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Ospreys, with FGCU keeping their lead throughout the game and winning by 19 points, 60-79.

Missed shots were the main reason behind UNF’s low offensive production. The Ospreys sank only 20 of their 55 total shot attempts and had even more trouble from beyond the arc, sinking only 10 of 35 from three.

When asked if the low-scoring numbers may leave concerns regarding shot selection, UNF head coach Matthew Driscoll emphasized it is a fundamental issue and that the shot selection was up to par.

“I thought we had some [open] ones that we should have taken that turned out to be turnovers. I don’t think the guys truly understand what it’s like without having [(Chaz Lanier] cut the head of the snake,” Driscoll said. “Down there, we had 18 assists … and it’s disappointing because you’re grown men, you’re college players … playing ball is playing ball.”

Despite the loss, sophomore Nze has been on a roll for North Florida. Following a 17-point performance in the team’s last outing against Jacksonville University, he put up yet another team-leading performance in this game, tying with Lanier at 14 points.

Following a bounce-back win over the Stetson Hatters on Friday to end the regular season, UNF will now enter the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament as the number five seed.



For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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Jacob Justice
Jacob Justice, Sports Editor
Jacob Justice is a third-year multimedia journalism major at the University of North Florida. First joining as a sports reporter, Jacob is now Spinnaker's sports editor. Jacob has a passion for sportswriting and hopes to write as a journalist for a sports media company in the future. In his free time, he tends to enjoy playing guitar and bass as well as spending quality time with friends.
Justin Nedrow
Justin Nedrow, Photographer
Justin Nedrow is a Jacksonville-based photographer who started volunteering for Spinnaker in 2020 and recently graduated in spring 2023 with a degree in sports management from the University of North Florida. Taking hundreds, if not thousands, of photos, Justin has helped Spinnaker reporters cover everything from sports games, protests, ordinary campus life and more. Photography is a passion project for Justin, one he started to meet new people and express himself without words.

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