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Men’s basketball wins over Trinity Baptist

Joslyn Simmons

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Men’s basketball worked through early offensive struggles to defeat the Trinity Baptist Eagles 85-58 Dec. 2 at the UNF Arena.

In the opening minutes of the first half, the Ospreys and Eagles traded baskets with two ties early on.

As North Florida tried to get into a consistent offensive rhythm, Trinity Baptist pushed a fast pace which allowed for many disrupted plays on both sides of the court.

Head coach Matthew Driscoll believed the team came out of the gate slow and without much intensity.

“I think we were extremely flat, I thought we shot the ball extremely flat, I thought that led to us being flat defensively and I think there was a correlation between all three of those things,” Driscoll said.

With the score tied at 17, Eagles’ guard Marquis Duncanson had two steals but his team couldn’t convert on the opposite end of the floor.

Trinity Baptist held a short-lived 19-17 lead over the home team with just over 10 minutes left in the half. This would be the last time the Eagles had an advantage for the night.

The Ospreys found an energy burst with Osborn Blount, a redshirt senior, who came off the bench. Before the game, there was a discussion of starting him in place of Ivan Gandia-Rosa, who is battling with issues with his ankle or keep the spark that Blount brings off the bench.

Blount’s quick hands knocked away a steal seconds in the game before he sped down the court for a layup to tie the score up.

“Keep your man, you always say ball, your rim. I try to keep it in front of me when they expose the ball,” Blount said on his quick stealing method.

Blount broke the tie with a three-pointer and the Ospreys didn’t look back.

Heading into halftime, North Florida held a 41-32 lead over Trinity Baptist.

Photo by Lili Weinstein

After the break, with minimal adjustments made, UNF continued to pile onto their lead. Despite the widening gap in front of them, Eagles’ forwards Zack Norris and Marcus Dixon knocked shots down the stretch and provided a threat to the Ospreys, but the duo wouldn’t have enough to take the lead.

Norris finished with 10 points and 4 blocks while Dixon closed the night out with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Wajid Aminu, who had 13 points of his own, described how he took a step back before the game after a conversation with the coaching staff which lead to a more productive performance against Trinity Baptist, unlike previous games.

“My teammates found me in open positions and then I let the game come to me and, you know, playing with those guys make it easier on you when you let it just come to you,” Aminu said.

The Ospreys connected on 18 out of their 38 attempts, just one more than in the first half. In the tales of two halves, North Florida made seven three-pointers.

Head Coach Matthew Driscoll saw going 11 for 42 from behind the arc as not what the Ospreys were content with.

“And we got too good of looks and when you get good clean looks you got to knock them in,” Driscoll said.

Ivan Gandia-Rosa had a team-high 14 points and lead three other double-digit scorers.

North Florida finished with 45.5 percent from the field and held Trinity Baptist to 38.2 percent with a stronger defensive presence in the second half.

Men’s basketball takes a short break for finals before hitting the road to play Florida A&M Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.

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Men’s basketball wins over Trinity Baptist