Ospreys swoop into first NCAA Tourney with first A-Sun title

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Joslyn Simmons


UPDATED3/8/2015 at 8:00 p.m.

The University of North Florida Ospreys grabbed their dancing shoes with a 63-57 revenge victory over the USC Upstate Spartans in the Atlantic Sun Championship Final. With this victory, the Ospreys gained an automatic-bid into the NCAA Tournament, the first time ever in school history.

In front of another energized, packed UNF arena, the Ospreys (23-11) went bucket to bucket with the Spartans (23-11). In the first five minutes of the game, the Ospreys’ lockdown defense held the Spartans to only two points. Dallas Moore, UNF’s starting sophomore guard, scored the first points for the Ospreys. Moore would score 13 points and have 6 boards off the glass. Jalen Nesbitt, UNF’s starting senior guard, scored 16 points, bringing out the raw emotions from the crowd. Demarcus Daniels, UNF’s junior forward, came off the bench with 22 points. Daniels was named the Tournament MVP.

After halftime, the Spartans would go on a comeback run, gaining the lead over the Ospreys for a short time. Usual Spartan sure shot, Ty Greene, had to fight for all of his 21 points after a slow start in the first half.

On the defensive front for the Ospreys, Chris Davenport, starting sophomore forward, grabbed 10 boards off the glass.  Beau Beech, UNF’s starting junior forward, grabbed 8 boards off the glass. Usual shooters, Beech and Trent Mackey, UNF’s junior guard, went 0-9 from behind the arc.

“These guys have been something all year long,” Ospreys’ Head Coach Matthew Driscoll said. “They been resilient and they been 1-0 every night.”

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The UNF Ospreys earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the school’s history by winning UNF’s first-ever Atlantic Sun Conference championship with a 63-57 win over USC Upstate in the UNF Arena today, March 8.

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