Ospreys win Cancun Challenge: Set to open Atlantic-Sun play


The UNF men’s basketball team, fresh off a Cancun Challenge Championship, is set to tip-off its 2010 Atlantic Sun schedule Dec. 2 when it hosts Florida Gulf Coast.

The Ospreys are booming with confidence after a four-game road trip in which they went 3-1 over Wyoming, Prairie View A&M and Morgan State.

Their only loss in the four games came against Missouri, who is the No. 15 team in
the nation.

“The one that about playing in these type of events is it really gives you an opportunity not just to see the growth in your team but to see your team have a chance to compete for championship,” said head coach Matthew Driscoll. “We did a great job.”

Driscoll was pleased with how his team responded heading in to the Cancun tournament after a blow out loss against Missouri.

“When we got to Cancun it was very business-like,” Driscoll said.

“There were some teams hanging around in the pool and jacking around doing this and doing that. Those teams weren’t very successful.”

The Ospreys proved their versatility once they got to Cancun. They won with both offense and defense.

They put on a shooting display by scoring 84 points in their 18-point win over Prairie View A&M in the semi-finals before locking down on defense in their 59-52 win vover Morgan State in the championship game.

Sophomore swingman Jerron Granberry, who was named Tournament MVP and is the team’s second leading scorer to date, led the Ospreys. Junior guard Jimmy Williams, who was named to the All-Tournament team, also found his groove after struggling some what throughout the first couple games for the Ospreys.

“I think the road trip was more of a bonding experience,” Granberry said. “I felt like, in Cancun, everybody got together. Actually being more of a team and actually being on the court, knowing where were going to be at and knowing what a player can do and putting them in the right position to achieve what he can do.”

While opening conference play is important, the Ospreys are trying to look at it as just another game. With the tough schedule the Ospreys have opened the season with, they players said they have prepared themselves for Atlantic Sun play.
“We’re doing the same thing that we do for every game,” Granberry said. “Florida Gulf Coast is a good school so we’re just going to get after it. You know practice hard. We’re not going to treat them any different than we did Florida State. We’re going to try and knock them out and do what we got
to do.”

Driscoll is looking for the crowd to play a huge part in the home court advantage. There were 1,589 people in attendance for November’s exhibition game, so he is expecting an even larger crowd for the Osprey’s regular season home-opener and their first in-conference game.

“Opening up conference play at home is really important for a couple of different factors,” Driscoll said. “Number one is obviously you always like to be in your own bed. With the ability to draw a great student body on Thursday night and really have some people come out here, this could be a very very loud venue. We’ll be ready”

Fans can get a chance to know their Osprey basketball team a little better Dec. 1, as both the men’s and women’s teams will be signing autographs outside the Student Union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Ospreys play host to Florida Gulf Coast Thursday night, inside the UNF Arena at 7:45 p.m.