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Ospreys learn from two tough losses

UNF lost a pair of back-to-back road games over the weekend. The Ospreys first dropped a 75-55 decision against Florida State University, before running into the No. 4 team in the nation, the University of Pittsburgh, who they lost to 95-49.

The two games were the Ospreys’ first two regular season games, bringing their record to 0-2. While head coach Matthew Driscoll said it’s always tough to lose, but overall the team performed very well.

“You know obviously I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of guy,” Driscoll said. “I’m disappointed that we didn’t come away with at least a split. There were some times that we did some really good things.”

Sophomore guard Parker Smith said it was different playing against the Pitt’s strong team.
It was an awakening, he said, and would help them prepare for Atlantic Sun Conference play.

“I hate to say that we learned from losing, but we learned a lot about how we are as a team,” Smith said.

Smith led the Ospreys against FSU with 16 points on three of eight shooting. He was the main spark for UNF during a 16-2 run in the second half that cut the FSU lead down to five with 10:46 left in the game. Smith scored 10 straight
for Ospreys.

“We needed to make a run, and we needed to push,” Smith said. “I was looking for opportunities to get back in the game. I was just being real aggressive.”

The second half run wasn’t enough, as FSU used a Luke Loucks three-pointer and a Chris Singleton dunk to stop the bleeding and build its lead back to double figures. FSU would not look back, eventually pulling away for a 20-point win.

Driscoll said he was proud of his team. He said it was a compliment to have FSU still playing their top players in the late stages of the game, which showed the Seminoles thought the Ospreys had the ability to get back in
the game.

The Panthers out-played the Ospreys physically. The Ospreys played in their first back-to-back of the season, but did not use that as an excuse for why they lost. Driscoll said it was just a different
caliber team.

UNF handled its first back-to-back situation of the season well, Driscoll said. He said everything went smoothly, and he didn’t think the long trip affected his team in a bad way.

He said they did everything they needed to do. The only thing they missed was a walk-through before the game
that morning.

“Obviously it’s tough, but you know you just got to get through it,” said senior guard Brad Haugabrook. “You can’t give up. You know you just got to play your hardest. You know you’re playing the No. 4 team in the country, and you just got to give it your all. We don’t make excuses.”

The easiest way to see if a team is getting physically beat in a basketball game is looking at who is getting the rebounds. Pitt had more offensive rebounds (32) than UNF’s total rebounds (28), which led to 31 second-chance points for the Panthers. Pitt finished the game with 59 total rebounds.

“[The Panthers] were just pushing and shoving, which you got to do,” Driscoll said. “In those kinds of games, it’s a dog fight in the Big East. It’s a strongest-man-wins type of stuff in the Big East.”

Despite the two loses, Driscoll said he saw good things in both games and just wants to see everything come together.

“We know we have a bigger plan in store, and we understand the purpose behind doing all these different things,” he said. “So that makes it good.”

The Ospreys got back to practice Nov. 15 and take the court next when they travel to Laramie, Wyo., to take on the University of Wyoming Nov. 18.

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