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UNF Basketball takes down Highlanders on road

Bruce Hope, Sports Reporter

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The UNF Men’s and Women’s team travelled to NJIT and picked up wins that boosted their seedings for the ASUN Conference Championship Tournament.

Khorri Newton
Redshirt-Junior J.T. Escobar goes up for a layup

Women’s Basketball

The NJIT Highlanders won the opening tip Saturday and scored on the first possession. It took about three and half minutes from the opening tip before the Ospreys scored and began to take over early. Strong opening quarters from Redshirt Sophomore Jazz Bond and Senior Arianna Emanuel-Wright led to a 22-16 Ospreys lead after one quarter of action.

The second quarter was closer, but again saw UNF outscore NJIT,19-16, for a 41-32 lead at the intermission.

Emanuel-Wright led the scoring in the first half for UNF with 10 points.  Junior Adrienne Jackson scored nine and Junior Dasha Eremeeva had seven. The balanced attack contributed to the nine point lead.

The Ospreys started the third quarter scoring in transition and taking advantage of their size with Bond and Eremeeva up front.

The lead was as much as 22 points in the third.  NJIT however, reeled off a 9-0 run to end the third quarter.

Going into the fourth, the Highlanders cut the lead to 11, but weren’t able to get any closer than that.

The Ospreys had four players in double figures on the afternoon, led by Emanuel-Wright’s 18.

Senior Ty Purifoy ran the attack well, scoring eight points and dishing out nine assists.UNF stretched the lead back out to 19 points for a 78-59 final in a major road win.

The win improves UNF to 11-12 (6-6 ASUN) and the Ospreys move to fifth place in the ASUN, clinching a spot in the ASUN Championship Tournament. The loss drops NJIT to 5-19 (2-9 ASUN). The Ospreys play at Jacksonville University  on Tuesday, February 19 at 7 p.m.

Men’s Basketball

The University of North Florida Osprey Men’s Basketball team survived a furious comeback by the NJIT Highlanders Saturday to escape Newark  with a thrilling one point win in a pivotal ASUN matchup.

Leading scorer Junior Noah Horchler opened the game with a fade away jump shot that touched nothing but net.

The head to head matchup between the two stars, Horchler and Senior Abdul Lewis of NJIT, was as advertised with Horchler scoring 19 in the first half and Lewis scoring 14.

The rest of the Ospreys shot poorly, but Horchler carried his squad into the break with a two-point, 33-31 lead.

The second half saw the score remain tight, usually within two.

Horchler and Lewis’ blazing hot first halves cooled considerably, with Horchler only scoring two points in and Lewis six in the second half.

Junior Wajid Aminu nearly had a double- double in the game with 13 points and nine rebounds.

With 2:28 remaining, Junior Ivan Gandia-Rose threw a perfect pass which Aminu caught in the air and laid in before coming down to push the Osprey lead to ten.

The Highlanders however, would not go away, and with 49 seconds remaining in the game, Sophomore Zach Cooks knocked down a big three to cut the Osprey lead to five.  After two UNF free throws, Cooks, in the faces of two Osprey defenders, hit another huge three to make it a four-point game with 38 seconds left.

Horchler was then called for a foul on Senior Diandre Wilson on a three-point attempt with 22 seconds left.

Wilson made all three shots to bring the game within one.

After two Gandia-Rosa free throws, the Ospreys were able to get one final stop forcing a bad shot at the buzzer.

After having lost six straight, UNF is now on a three-game-winning-streak, looking to continue the momentum heading into the A-Sun tournament.

The Ospreys improve to 12-16 (6-7 ASUN) and NJIT drops to 18-9 (6-6 ASUN). The Ospreys play at Jacksonville University on Wednesday, February 20 at 7 p.m.

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UNF Basketball takes down Highlanders on road