Turnovers in the Heartland

Jordan Ferrell

The Carver-Hawkeye Arena was a packed house of 14,137 people on Monday night as the University of North Florida Ospreys (7-6) – halfway through a six-game stretch of non-conference road-battles – concluded their pre-holiday schedule with a loss to the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, 70-80.

The largest lead of the night for the Ospreys came very early on in the first half at 18:51 when UNF sophomore Dallas Moore scored the first points of the night with a jumper from beyond the arc. The Iowa Hawkeyes (9-4) – capitalizing on the 20 turnovers the Ospreys offered up throughout the night – took control shortly thereafter and managed from a lead that never fell below two points but went as high as sixteen just before halftime.

Driscoll
Driscoll

“We continued to fight back and cut deficits but just hurt ourselves with some unforced errors,” said UNF Head Coach Matthew Driscoll in regards to several scoring opportunities the Ospreys missed out on. “I also thought that their transition game really bothered us, especially in the first half.”

Mishandled passes, senseless fouls and missed opportunities not only permitted the Hawkeyes those transitions on Monday night, but have proven to be constant thorns in the side of the Ospreys as the season progresses. The 20 turnovers the Ospreys had for this game resulted in 18 points for the Hawkeyes and were the most UNF has given up in any single game. With a total of 183 turnovers just 13 games into the season, UNF is averaging 14.1 per game.

While turnovers are not always the best indicator of a victory, they can be detrimental to a team when the month of March rolls around and the pressure starts to mount. The Ospreys have allowed a total of 187 points in turnovers thus far, averaging 14.4 points in favor of the opposing team per game.

Despite offensive errors, the Ospreys had four players who reached double-digits in scoring. UNF junior Trent Mackey led the team with 18 points. All eight of Mackey’s shots were dialed in from beyond the arc; he connected on six of them. The Ospreys shot 46.2 percent (12-26) from the 3-point range and went 26-57 in overall field goals, outshooting the Hawkeyes in both categories.

“Usually if you look at that number and say, ‘His team made 12 threes,’ you ain’t winning,” said UI Head Coach Fran McCaffery. “We out-rebounded them, turned them 20 times and shared the ball. A lot of guys stepped up.”

The one category that the Hawkeyes excelled in was free throws, shooting an unprecedented 92.9 percent (26-28) from behind the line. Four of the five players from the Hawkeyes’ starting lineup were perfect from the free throw line, helping the team go 18-18 in the second half.

McCaffery
McCaffery

“We wanted to throw it inside, drive the ball and get to the free throw line,” McCaffery said. “You know, we try to be outstanding  there every night in terms of getting there. You don’t always go 26-for-28.”

One of those five starters was Iowa senior Aaron White, who went 8-8 in free throws and led both teams in scoring with 23 points. Iowa junior Jarrod Uthoff also had a perfect free throw percentage for the night and accrued a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Monday night’s game was the first time the Ospreys and the Hawkeyes have met on the hardwood, but it was the third and final meeting between UNF and Big Ten Conference schools this season. The Ospreys are now 1-12 all-time against Big Ten schools.

The Ospreys have several days off to enjoy the holiday and rest up after a long week of basketball in which they saw a total of four games.

UNF will hit the road once again after Christmas and travel up to Cookeville, Tenn. to face off against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on Monday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. The Golden Eagles, who recently dealt the Ospreys an 82-80 loss just last week at the UNF Arena, will be looking for similar results on their home court.

Going forward into the New Year, the Ospreys need to build off of their non-conference season positives and negatives – trim the penalties, lock up the free throws, keep the ball circulating – and stay focused on Atlantic Sun Conference match-ups which start on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 3 p.m. against the Jacksonville University Dolphins in the Veterans Memorial Arena.

Gallery photos courtesy Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com

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