UNF tops NJIT to close out Homecoming Week

Cody Hagerty

Video by Joslyn Simmons

With conference play starting to come to a close, a tightly contested game took place on Saturday night between North Florida(13-17, 7-6 ASUN) and NJIT(13-15, 6-7 ASUN).  The Ospreys defeated the Highlanders 86-75 in front of a crowd of well over 2,000 people for senior night on Feb.17

The first portion of the fast-paced game was close as the Ospreys and the Highlanders answered each other shot for shot. At the half, North Florida and NJIT found themselves tied at 39.

Head Coach Matthew Driscoll touched on how the team’s defensive presence had to increase, especially in the rebounding category, which could lead to offensive productivity.

“The greatest thing we said at halftime was it was still tied, and we didn’t do what we needed to do,” Driscoll said. “In the second half, we came out and punched them in the mouth.” 

The turning point of the game came early in the second half as the Ospreys went on a 13-0 run. After J.T Escobar hit the three point shot to give North Florida a comfortable lead, it was easy for the home team to control the rest of the game.

The Highlanders chipped away at to the lead to bring it within six points at one point, but the Ospreys made key shots and stops defensively.

Osborn Blount, who was recognized before the game, was able to have a night to remember as he put up 17 points in the regular season home finale. Blount, who mother was unable to be at the ceremony, sent in a video for him to see before the game.

“After I seen that video of my mom, I got a little emotional so I know I had to get back in, focus on the game, and not try to think about where she’s at,” Blount said. “I just really had to lock back in so our schemes and we needed to do to win tonight.”

Fan favorite Chase Driscoll went into the game with just under a minute remaining. Photo by Lili Weinstein

Fellow senior and fan favorite Chase Driscoll also went into the game with just under a minute remaining to a crowd that sent the Arena rocking.

Up next for the Osprey’s is the second chapter of the River City Rumble against crosstown rival Jacksonville University on Feb.22 at 7 p.m. With huge implications on seeding, this game will be better than most. The winner will control the third seed in conference play when the time comes. 

      Photo Gallery by Lili Weinstein

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