North Florida clinches number one seed, defeats JU

Joslyn Simmons

Video by Will Weber

 

In the regular season finale, the Ospreys survived a close game against crosstown rival Jacksonville University, clinching their second consecutive Atlantic Sun Regular Season Title and the number one seed in the A-Sun tournament. The final score was 81-80.

In the first half the game was tight, with both teams playing sloppy offense and committing critical turnovers. The Ospreys shot well, hitting 47 percent of their shots from behind the arc. Dolphins’ guard Kori Babineaux dominated in the paint early with his floater, but was held in check for the remainder of the game.

The big screen at the UNF vs. JU watch party held at the UNF Arena.  Photo by Tiffany Salameh
The big screen at the UNF vs. JU watch party held at the UNF Arena. Photo by Tiffany Salameh

As time expired in the first half, Osprey point guard Dallas Moore nailed a step-back three, sending the Ospreys to the break with a 49-38 lead.

JU men’s basketball head coach Tony Jasick gave credit to the Ospreys.

“I thought they really took advantage of some opportunities that were created throughout the game,” Jasick said. “Especially kind of early in the second half which changed the game.”

After the break, the Ospreys picked up where they left off, knocking down five threes and finishing with 13 for the game.

Midway through the second half  JU began to mount a comeback after falling behind by 18.  J.R. Holder got to the rim and was able to cut the Ospreys’ lead down to single digits.

Dallas Moore recognized what was going wrong.

“On defensive we kind of relaxed. I think we let, we went back to our old ways, we let our offense dictate our defense,” Moore said. “So we weren’t getting buckets so we weren’t making stops and for that four minutes stretch or how long it was they made a great comeback.”

The Ospreys defense stepped up down the stretch, slowing down the Dolphins’ offensive attack in the rocking Historic Swisher Gym.

The Ospreys during a time out during the last minutes of the game.  Photo by Tiffany Salameh
The Ospreys during a time out during the last minutes of the game. Photo by Tiffany Salameh

UNF men’s basketball head coach Matthew Driscoll said the Ospreys got key stops when it mattered.

“It’s tough to win on the road, and we just lost three on the road,” Coach Driscoll said. “I am really proud of these guys, and I am really excited to go back and cut down the nets at the UNF Arena.”

With 31.5 seconds left, Demarcus Daniels fouled out with 14 points, two blocks and three rebounds.

UNF guard Trent Mackey sealed the game from the free throw line, pushing the victory just out of the Dolphins reach with seconds to play.

Five Ospreys finished in double digits. Moore led the way with  22 points, two rebounds and five assists.

Both benches were evenly matched, as UNF had 20 points compared to 15 from the Dolphins. In the paint, JU dropped 40 points to UNF’s 18. There were 26 combined turnovers with 16 coming from the Ospreys.

Holder finished with 23 points, four rebounds and three steals while his teammate Babineaux contributed 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Next the Ospreys will face the USC Upstate Spartans in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament at the UNF Arena on March 1. This will be an Atlantic Sun Championship rematch and the third time the teams face each other this season.

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