Ospreys survive and advance to sixth-straight Semifinal

Drew McDonald, Sports Editor

Featured image by: Darvin Nelson

Video by: Brett Nweeia

“Survive and advance” was the message that Coach Driscoll instilled into the UNF men’s basketball team before the ASUN Quarterfinal matchup against JU. 

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJjQxFG91Hc[/embedyt]

According to Garrett Sams, the small things were key to survive and advance in the 91-88 win over the Dolphins. 

“Just doing the small things, we didn’t turn the ball over and we made free throws,” Sams said. “Down the stretch, we made some big time shots and some big time threes.”

After Carter Hendricksen sank a three to open up the game, the Dolphins countered with eight unanswered points.

The Ospreys answered with an 8-2 run to take an 11-10 lead. 

With less than ten minutes left in the first half, Ryan Burkhardt gave the Ospreys a 25-24 lead on a four-point play. 

Both teams continued to trade blows but after a trey from Sams and a three-point play from his “Tennessee boy” Josh Endicott, the Ospreys reached a 47-41 lead, their largest of the half. 

The Ospreys carried a 47-42 lead into halftime powered by a combined 23 points from Hendricksen and Sams. The bench did their part for the Ospreys with 16 points in the first 20 minutes. 

The Dolphins were playing a continuous game of catch-up in the second half while the Ospreys kept their foot on the gas pedal.

UNF grabbed a ten-point lead with 15 minutes left on back-to-back baskets from Hendricksen.

One of the biggest woes for JU was their free throw shooting, going 18-for-30 from the charity stripe. 

Despite the struggles, the Dolphins kept themselves in the game, shooting 51 percent from the field in the second half. 

Things began to fall through the cracks for the Ospreys in the final four minutes of the game.

“I loved the way we played the first 16 minutes of the second half,” Driscoll said. “We dominated on both ends of the floor and I really felt like we were back to our identity. The last four minutes, I thought the wheels fell off.”

A three from Destin Barnes pulled the Dolphins within 10, followed by a pair of free throws from Barnes and a layup from Kevin Norman to set the score at 86-80, Ospreys. 

Barnes struck again with a trey to creep within four but a pair of free throws from Sams iced the game at 85-91. 

Barnes pulled up from Trae Young range with two seconds left to sink a long three but it was too late for a 91-88 UNF win. 

Sams and Hendricksen led the team with 21 points apiece while Ivan Gandia-Rosa scored 17 with eight assists. 

With the win, the Ospreys host Lipscomb on Thursday, March 5 at 7:00 p.m. for their sixth-straight ASUN Semifinal. 

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].