Men’s basketball wins season opener in record fashion over Illinois 93 – 81

Joslyn Simmons

Guard Dallas Moore was one of six Ospreys to hit a three in UNF’s win over Illinois.
Photo courtesy of Sideline Sports.

The UNF men’s basketball team (1-0) upset the Illinois Fighting Illini (0-1) on the road behind a double-double from junior guard Dallas Moore with 26 points and 10 assists. The Ospreys hit a school record of 17 threes in the contest.
Before Friday’s loss, Illinois had not lost a season opener since 1998.
The Ospreys took the lead early and never let go over the Illini. At the first media timeout, UNF was up 16-9 as Moore and senior guard Beau Beech earned 8 and 6 points respectively. Beech finished with 25 points and four rebounds, hitting seven of eight three-pointers.
Illinois would make a 6-0 run to close the gap to 22-19, capped off with a dunk from redshirt freshman Michael Finke.

Image courtesy of North Florida Ospreys Facebook
Image courtesy of North Florida Ospreys Facebook

The Ospreys made back to back three-pointers with five minutes in the first half to increase to a 35-21 lead. Before the end of the half, Moore went coast-to-coast to make a running jumper, sealing a 47-34 halftime lead.
In a post-game press release, UNF head coach Matthew Driscoll said the Ospreys let it fly from deep thanks to good passing.
“Really proud of the guys effort tonight. I thought we played humble and hungry,” Driscoll said. “We know that we got some guys who can shoot it and we just wanted the guys to play freely and in a flow. It was great to see how unselfish the team was by having 20 assists on 35 baskets with only six turnovers. The guys really played with great poise tonight.”
In the second half, the Ospreys led by as many as 23 points. That deficit was cut to 11 by Illinois with the thanks to double-double efforts from junior guard Malcolm Hill with 20 points and 10 rebounds and graduate forward Mike Thorne Jr. with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
UNF senior forward Demarcus Daniels nabbed nine rebounds while junior forward Chris Davenport was in foul trouble. Both Daniels and Davenport forced two blocks each during the game.
UNF returns home with the season-opening win, and the Ospreys will play their home opener against UT Rio Grande Valley on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the UNF Arena.

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