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Men’s basketball collapses in second half, loses ASUN Quarterfinals to Austin Peay in overtime

On Tuesday night, the number five seed UNF men’s basketball team faced off against number four Austin Peay in the ASUN tournament quarterfinals. The APSU Governors won in overtime, 98-101.

Half One

North Florida started hot in the first half with a pair of jumpers from Dorian James and an added bucket from Nate Lliteras. This put the Ospreys to an early 6-0 lead, which soon improved, despite a few buckets from Austin Peay, thanks to a three from Jake Van der Heijden to make it 11-6.

The Governors slowly started to climb back thanks to their dominant presence in the paint; however, a three-point play and an added layup from Jah Nze kept the Ospreys on pace 15-14.

Things went back and forth as UNF and APSU went layup-for-layup in the remainder of the first half. Despite this, North Florida kept their slim one-point lead to take the opening 20 minutes, 34-33.

Half Two

Following the halftime break, The Ospreys exploded.  After some quick buckets from Chaz Lanier, Jaylen Smith and James, UNF capitalized on a costly steal by Sai Witt, which was quickly followed by a three from Lliteras. 

This was the final game for seniors Dorian James (pictured) and Jake van der Heijden. (Rachel Bacchus)

In the next possession, Lliteras blocked a layup from Witt, allowing Smith to score a layup and cap off the run with a 10-point UNF lead, 56-46.

Some good Osprey free throws allowed North Florida to keep this sizable lead for most of the second half. However, with a 73-65 lead at 4:19, things took a turn for the worse.

A layup from Demarcus Sharp quickly followed a three-pointer from Ja’Monta Black. Then, the Governors cut UNF’s lead to three, 73-70.

A layup from Lliteras and a few good free throws from Lanier kept the Ospreys above water at 77-71, but this wouldn’t last long. Nze caused a foul, which allowed Dezi Jones to make two clutch free throws that were expanded upon with a paint layup from Sharp. 

The game was now within two at 77-75, with under two minutes remaining.

UNF maintained its two-point lead until the final 10 seconds, where a last-second layup by Isaac Haney allowed APSU to tie the game and send it into overtime, tied at 87.


James opened the tiebreaker period for UNF with a three. However, Isaac Haney quickly responded with an APSU layup that turned into a three-point play after a foul.

The score remained at 90 even for the next minute and a half until Smith put the Ospreys up by two with free throws. However, James and Lanier each allowed their fifth personal foul during this time and were thus fouled out of the game.

This lead was tied almost immediately by Sharp, who scored a dunk after getting his rebound after Smith blocked a previous shot attempt.

Following a heavy exchange of free throws, APSU led by one, 98-99, with 19 seconds remaining. A foul by Oscar Berry allowed Sharp to make two free throws to increase the lead to three, winning the game 98-101.

This loss marks the end of the Ospreys’ 2023-24 campaign, which saw a team ranked 11th in the ASUN preseason rankings go on to lead the nation in three-pointers per game while putting up a 9-7 conference record and an 11-5 record at home.


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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About the Contributor
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.

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