The UNF men’s basketball team got back on track after losing two straight to Jacksonville University and Campbell, as the defeated Lipscomb University, 72-62, Feb. 3, inside the UNF Arena.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” said head coach Matthew Driscoll. “I thought our last two days of practice were phenomenal, sharp, and crisp. And I felt like tonight we played just like we practiced. The guys really wanted to go to another level and beat an upper echelon team.”
The Ospreys (9-14, 6-6 Atlantic Sun) came out blazing in the first half. While they didn’t score for the four minutes of the game, a fast break dunk by sophomore forward Andy Diaz, gave the Ospreys the spark they needed. The dunk started a 12-3 Ospreys run that set the tone for the entire game.
Lipscomb (14-9, 9-5 Atlantic Sun) battled back, cutting the lead to 14-10 with 10 minutes left in the half, However, another Diaz dunk on a fast break pass from senior point guard Brad Haugabrook, gave the Ospreys a 21-12 lead with 8:23 left. They weren’t done there. UNF attacked the basket, resulting in a 28-8 advantage down low in the first half. They finished the game outscoring the Bison 48-28 down low.
“We noticed our shots weren’t going in from the outside so we started attacking them,” said junior guard Jimmy Williams. “We realized that they couldn’t stop us from getting to the basket.”
Sophomore forward David Jeune got in the action when he slammed down another fast break dunk to put the Ospreys up 32-17 with 3:35 left in the half. UNF led 35-19 at halftime.
“We had something to prove,” said sophomore guard Jerron Granberry. “We were hyped up. This was our chance to finally beat an upper echelon team. We were just excited. We knew we were going to win. When you win you know you’re going to have fun and that’s what we did tonight.”
UNF came out of halftime and built their largest lead, 47-27, with 13:17 left to play. However, Lipscomb wouldn’t go down without a fight. The Bison used a 23-10 run to cut the Ospreys lead to seven at 57-50 with 4:25 to play. However, Lipscomb ran out of gas and much like the Ospreys didn’t do down the stretch Jan. 26 against Jacksonville University, the Ospreys made clutch free throws late to hold on to the win.
UNF was led by Williams, who had a double-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and three assists. Granberry and sophomore guard Parker Smith added 13 and 10 points respectively.
Senior guard Josh Slater led the way for the Bison with 19 points.
The Ospreys take the court next Saturday night, against Belmont, who sits atop the Atlantic Sun Conference, before heading to JU to play the second of two games against the Dolphins in the “River City Rumble.”
“We’re finally on a role,” Granberry said. “We just beat Lipscomb, who is a great team, one of the top teams in the conference. Now we have Belmont. It’s actually fun you know that we get to take these teams down. We’re ready.”