UNF’s first spring home game spoiled by A-Sun leaders FGCU

UNF students yell, “Hands up!” as they support Jalen Nesbitt taking his free throws. Photo by Zach Schoenheide

Scott Kunath

UNF’s basketball team stormed back from a nine point deficit late in the second half but fell short to Florida Gulf Coast University 79-75, Thursday.

Trailing 71-62 with 3:59 left on the clock, UNF (9-9, 3-2 A-Sun) battled back to make it 77-75 with five seconds left in the game. Jalen Nesbitt went to the line with a chance to tie the game. He missed both attempts and the Ospreys lost the game.

Matthew Driscoll, UNF head coach, spoke about his team’s inability to play 40 minutes of solid defense.
“We’re not very good when we’re not locked in defensively,” Driscoll said. “We’ve got to find a way to not stay locked in.”

FGCU’s (10-7, 4-0 A-Sun) Brett Comer scored 15 points to lead the Eagles offensively. As a team, FGCU shot 50.8 percent from the field and outscored UNF in the paint 38-24.

UNF gave up 20 points off turnovers; six of them came through a game-changing 17-3 run by FGCU late in the game.

Driscoll was blunt about what his team needs to do in the future to stop these runs. “We’ve got to find a way to get consecutive stops,” Driscoll said.

UNF’s Beau Beech led the Ospreys with 14 points including 4 for 10 from three-point range. A-Sun player of the week Travis Wallace couldn’t find his groove, shooting just 3 for 7 with three free throws for nine points.

The student section rocked the whole night and FGCU’s Brett Comer said it was the most fun he’s had playing an A-Sun opponent.

The crowd of 3,181 was the largest in UNF history for a home game against an opponent other than Jacksonville University. UNF’s Travis Wallace acknowledged the record crowd after the game.

“It was a great atmosphere and I appreciate everybody who came out and supported us,” Wallace said. “But it’s hard to have a lot of fun when you lose.”

Wallace and the rest of the Ospreys will not have to wait long for a chance at redemption. They will play Stetson University (3-13, 1-3 A-Sun) Saturday night at UNF Arena.