Men’s basketball finishes the regular season reaching many milestones while gaining a tournament berth


By: Jordan Harirchi, Assistant Sports Editor


(Photo by Andrew Noble)


The men’s basketball team will head into the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament boasting the most wins in program history.

The UNF Ospreys (16-15, 10-8 Atlantic Sun) will play against the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers (16-13, 10-8 A-Sun) March 1 in the first round General Shale Brick Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The Ospreys capped off the regular season breaking a flurry of records. The 16 victories and 10 A-Sun victories are highs in each category for the program.

“Fifteen years ago, our athletic director hired me at Wyoming as an assistant. Who’d have thunk he’d bring me here?” Head Coach Matthew Driscoll said. “It’s a proud moment for our program, it’s a proud moment for our staff, but, most of all, it’s a proud moment for our players.”

(Photo by Andrew Noble)

The team posted the best home record in the team’s Division I history at 11-3 and is seeded in its highest-ever A-Sun tournament spot at No. 5. The team also swept intracity rival Jacksonville University Dolphins (8-21, 6-12 A-Sun) for the first time in program history.

The team also reached some individual milestones.

Both junior guards, Parker Smith and Jerron Granberry, eclipsed 1,000 points in their Division I careers this season, becoming the fifth and sixth players in program history to reach that mark.

Smith established single-game program records for points scored in a game (46), three-pointers made (11) and the single season record for treys (91). Selected to the second-team All-Atlantic Sun team, Smith is the second person to earn that honor in program history.

The Ospreys found wins and losses in patches and looked dominant and weak at different points in the season. The Ospreys held both losing and winning streaks of four in the season.

(Photo by Andrew Noble)

The team performed well against the bottom-feeders of the conference, but it never got the signature win against the upper-echelon conference teams until it beat the Mercer Bears (21-10, 13-5 A-Sun) 75-66 Feb. 20. Up to that game, the Ospreys were 0-7 against the top four teams in the conference, losing by an average of 14.7 points in that streak.

The Ospreys lost to the Bucs in both meetings this year. The Bucs’ senior guard Adam Sollazzo, a first-team all A-Sun selection, was a big reason for both outcomes. He averaged 18.5 points, six rebounds, four assists and one steal in the two games this year. The Ospreys held him in check for the first half of the teams’ first meeting, allowing him to score just two points. They entered the half up 11 points, but Sollazzo proceeded to go off in the second, scoring 19 points and bringing the Bucs back for a 64-63 victory.

(Photo by Andrew Noble)

The Ospreys are 1-13 against ETSU in program history, but the lone win for UNF against the Bucs was last year’s 59-55 win in the semifinals of the 2011 A-Sun Conference tournament.

If UNF wins against ETSU, the team will play the winner of the Belmont vs. JU game in the semifinal. If the team wins the semifinal, it will play in its second straight A-Sun championship game, with the winner advancing to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.


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