UNF Ospreys win 7th straight River City Rumble

Al Huffman

 

With North Florida going 5-12 so far this season, the Ospreys (6-12 overall, 1-0 ASUN) went into the historic Swisher Gym with several question marks and a mission to get their first road win of the season against arch nemesis Jacksonville (12-6 overall, 0-1 ASUN.) The Ospreys were 0-8 away from home.

The River City Rumble has been dominated by the Ospreys in recent years. North Florida has won six straight in the series and haven’t lost to the Dolphins since Feb. 15, 2013.

To anyone looking at just the win-loss records this seems like the makings of a lopsided game and a chance for Jacksonville to break the streak. However, a peek at the schedule difficulty paints a different picture.

Ospreys faced a punishing seven power conference opponents leading to the matchup including contests with UConn and Syracuse. Meanwhile the Dolphins faced no power five opponents and the Ospreys exposure to high caliber basketball seemed to pay off early.

The Ospreys took control early with a 12-2 run to start the game. Jacksonville seemed unable to keep up with a sleepy 31 percent from the field and trailing 20-6 in the paint.

However, senior phenom Dallas Moore was held to five points for most of the first half, but in the final two minutes, Moore put up several trick shots to get up to nine points and contribute to a late push that lifted the Ospreys to a comfy 44-29 lead going into the break.

The key player from the first half was senior forward Chris Davenport who steadied the team with 10 points, three rebounds, two steals and a block.

Jacksonville coach Tony Jasick applauded the early defense on Moore, but didn’t care for the start his players allowed from everyone else.

“We wanted to make him really have to work for everything he got,” Jasick said. “Unfortunately, early I think their other guys got really comfortable.”

Photo by Lili Weinstein
Photo by Lili Weinstein

In the second half, Moore would find his stride and go off for an additional 15 points to lead both teams with 24 points by the end of the game. North Florida’s freshmen Wajid Aminu and Garrett Sams would also get in on the party with 16 and 10 points respectively.

Interestingly enough this was the first time this season the Ospreys won the turnover battle. Head Coach Matthew Driscoll didn’t try to hide his delight.

“Part of it is guys knowing who they are and not stepping out of character,” Driscoll said. “Sometimes when you’re losing and you’re coming back even against the high-major teams we had to play, sometimes we’d try to hit home runs instead of singles and doubles…. I think these guys tonight, instead of being home run hitters, they were single and double guys.”

Jacksonville had their bright spots on the day including winning the rebound battle 35-33 and a significant advantage in bench points 31-20. In fact, the Ospreys would only outscore Jacksonville by one point in the second half, but the lead set in the first half would prove insurmountable as the North Florida coasted to a final score of 80–64 and the Ospreys’ first win in conference play.

The Ospreys hit the road to face USC Upstate on Jan 12.

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