Ospreys outlast USC Upstate


The University of North Florida men’s basketball team played host to Atlantic Sun rival, USC Upstate on Saturday night inside the UNF Arena, outlasting the Spartans in the final seconds to grab a 65-59 win.

The Ospreys (6-12, 3-4 Atlantic Sun) had lost three in a row and nine of their last 10 heading into Saturday’s matchup against the Spartans (2-15, 1-6 Atlantic Sun). Now the Ospreys are hoping to take the win and gain some momentum as they head down the stretch of Atlantic Sun play.

“I’m really really proud of the way our guys responded after two days and two tough losses,” said head coach Matthew Driscoll. “I think the one thing our guys figured out is that maybe we are pretty good when we guard like we did tonight and we share the ball the way we shared it tonight.”

The Ospreys came out firing on all cylinders hitting seven out of 12 shots from behind the three-point line in the first half. Sophomore forward Jerron Granberry helped the Ospreys take a 34-30 lead into the locker rooms at halftime, knocking down three of his five first-half attempts from behind the arch. Sophomore shooting guard Parker Smith added two threes of his own to help the Ospreys jump out in front.

“When were able to open up threes, it’s a good situation so when me and Jerron are hitting our shots like that it opens a lot of lanes for guys like Brad and Jimmy [Wilson] to make shots and it really opens things up,” Smith said.

The Spartans tied the game quickly once the second half started by forcing a number of UNF turnovers and by crashing the offensive boards. Both teams went back and forth for the majority of the second half.

However, Smith, newly nicknamed PS3, scored five straight points to give the Ospreys a 54-49 lead with 5 minutes remaining. It was a lead the Ospreys would never give up.

Junior guard Jimmy Williams, along with Smith both had a big second half, to help the Ospreys outlast the Spartans. Smith had 10 second half points while Williams added eight.

Unlike Thursday night against East Tennessee State, the Ospreys made the plays down the stretch, getting keys stops inside five minutes and converting on some crucial baskets. Two free throws apiece by Smith and sophomore forward David Jeune with less than 10 seconds to play were all the Ospreys needed to hold off the Spartans.

The Ospreys were led by four players who scored in double figures. Smith led the way with 16 while junior forward Matt Sauey added 12. Granberry scored 11 and Williams added 10 for the Ospreys.

The Spartans were led by freshman forward Torrey Craig with 20 points and senior guard Josh Chavis with 13.

The Ospreys are on the road for their next two games against Kennesaw State on Jan. 20 and Mercer on Jan. 22. They return to the UNF Arena Jan. 26 for a game against the cross-town rival Jacksonville University Dolphins.