UNF Spinnaker

Perseverance and versatility lead Ospreys to first win of the season against FIU

John Watson, Sports Editor

Who would have known that eight games into the season, the Ospreys would finally have their first win of the year? Well, when the final buzzer sounded on Saturday evening, a big sigh of relief was felt throughout the Osprey community.

While the score was a close finish at 80-77, The Birds of Trey accomplished what they have been struggling to do all season… finish close games. After a close loss to Eastern Carolina just a few days ago, UNF head coach Matthew Driscoll is sticking to the team motto.

“Perseverance is power,” Said Driscoll after the game.

Perseverance is something that Driscoll is stressing this season as many of his starters are inexperienced to the college level of basketball. After facing a previously-unbeaten FIU squad, the Ospreys look to be sticking to the game plan down the stretch and making the right decisions on both sides of the court.

While the Ospreys shot 52 percent from the field in this affair, the usually-sharpshooting Birds of Trey scored points while driving the paint and playing a different style than UNF is used to.

“We don’t only shoot threes,” Osprey guard Emmanuel Adedoyin stated. “we also play inside because we have a lot of guys who can score inside. If that’s what they’re giving us, we’re going to take it and keep using that advantage.”

While Emmanuel Adedoyin has shot a lot of threes this season, he scored most of his points inside the paint this game as he had a solid 13 point outing. The Ospreys finished with only six three-pointers made the entire game.

Adedoyin wasn’t the only Osprey to see the opportunities tonight. Dorian James led the scoring with 19 points and 7 rebounds and shared the wealth with Jose Placer who scored 18 points and had a team-high 5 assists.

Ryan Burkhardt (pictured) drained two free throws after going to the line up one with three seconds left in the game. (Darvin Nelson)

Freshman Jonathan Aybar had arguably his best collegiate game to date as he scored 17 points and totaled five rebounds. Working the paint worked well for Aybar and the Ospreys as they improved tremendously on the glass and tied FIU in the rebounding category with 35 boards.

As for the flow of the actual game, UNF was down early out of the gate but was able to wrangle the lead from FIU after about 12 minutes went by in the first half. The Ospreys would hold the lead until there were three minutes to go in the second half when FIU tied the game at 72 apiece.

With the ball in his hands, the usual “big man in the paint,” Jonathan Aybar knocked down a three that was then led by another three by Osprey guard Dorian James that would give UNF a six-point lead with just two minutes to play. The Ospreys stayed consistent and stopped FIU in their tracks to secure their first win of the season.

As for the Aybar shooting the go-ahead three in the clutch, Adedoyin says they’re a team full of sharpshooters.

“We know all of us can shoot threes,” Adedoyin said. “If it’s a good shot for anybody, we have to take the shot.”

Lastly, Adedoyin gave one phrase that is sure to be noted as the season goes on.

“Our shots on our terms; live with the results.”

UNF MBB is set to play the UF Gators on Wednesday Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. The Gators will likely be without their star player Keyontae Johnson, after a sudden instance in their game against FSU. The game will be streamed live on the SEC Network.

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

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Perseverance and versatility lead Ospreys to first win of the season against FIU