Video by David Washington and Joslyn Simmons
With control of the ASUN on the line, it was do or die for both North Florida (9-14 overall, 4-2 ASUN) and FGCU (16-6 overall, 5-1 ASUN.) The Jan. 25 showdown would prove a true measuring stick for both teams going forward.
If one of the teams was going to get the upper hand, it wasn’t going to be from the arc. In the first half, neither squad shot more than 30 percent from downtown.
Instead, both teams would be forced to find other means to get ahead. For the Ospreys, that was free throws.
Everyone who played except senior guard Aaron Bodager had at least one go at the stripe and they all converted at least one. The Ospreys shot 70 percent as a team and the free throws accounted for 14 of the team’s total points at halftime.
Senior star Dallas Moore led both squads with 12 points at the break after being held to five points for most of the half. The efforts from Moore and the solid free throw performance gave North Florida a 39-35 advantage halfway through the contest.
However, old troubles reared their ugly heads again for the Ospreys and they lost the turnover battle 16 to 8 and gave up 21 points off turnovers. To make matters worse, turnovers ended up costing North Florida the ball game.
Head coach Matthew Driscoll expressed his frustration.
“It’s something that’s plagued us in the last three or four games,” Driscoll said. “We’ve tried to do numerous things, but a lot of it is just basic fundamentals. Meeting the ball with two hands, throwing the ball where you’re supposed to throw it, making simple plays. It’s not like it’s rocket science.”
Score tied at 80. Two minutes left. Potentially season on the line. The Ospreys needed to step up.
Two turnovers from Chris Davenport and several key misses allow FGCU to get the leg up they need and seal a 86-82 victory over the Ospreys.
North Florida looks to bounce back Jan. 28 at Stetson.
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