Second half scoring barrage propels Ospreys to win at home vs Kennesaw State

John Watson, Sports Editor

While the final score looked like a convincing 69-54 win over an ASUN conference rival, it wasn’t precisely a wire-to-wire win for the Ospreys. Tied 26 apiece at the half, the Ospreys had to find their groove and start making plays.

The 15-point win meant the Ospreys would improve to 3-2 in conference play this year while their opponent Kennesaw State drops to 0-7.

Performances from the likes of Carter Hendricksen and Jose Placer fueled a scoring barrage in the second half, but it was their teammates who made big plays beyond scoring. Coming off the bench, freshman Jonathan Aybar was a menace on defense with three blocks and 12 points. 

So what happened in the first half?

UNF trailed the Owls most of the first half and couldn’t convert opportunities when they needed them. Kennesaw State had good looks beyond the arc and created open opportunities for their players to score. However, teams who score 26 or less in the first half usually can’t repeat that and expect to win the game. 

In the second half, the Ospreys scored 43 points, and the Owls only accounted for 28. The usual three-point shooting Ospreys took fewer threes in the game than KSU did. As the Ospreys found points in the paint, the Birds of Trey looked like FGCU’s Dunk City with a slam from Dorian James.

The Ospreys seemed to attack with their size and length and showed their usual sharpshooters showed versatility. UNF led in the rebound category 39-30, and the sugar was shared between Hendricksen, Josh Endicott and Placer with 10, 7 and 6 rebounds, respectively.  

As the season has progressed, the Ospreys have shown more discipline on defense, and today’s performance showed growth with the program. After the game, UNF head coach Matthew Driscoll said that his team defended and rebounded the ball well today and commented on how the Ospreys finished the job even with a shaky start.

“At the end of the game, they get one field goal in the last seven minutes and 20 seconds, and we outscore them 20-9,” Driscoll said. “Poor free-throw shooting in the first half was a big contributor. Ten turnovers in the first half is also a big contributor.”

Driscoll said that getting shots is always a priority, and how the team learns from this will happen when they watch the film later. Having Dorian James back in the lineup created a new look for the Ospreys, and Driscoll noted that there were in-game adjustments to the game plan.

As the Ospreys find themselves with a win in the first game of the regular-season series against KSU, home teams have not fared well this season in getting the sweep. Only one team has swept a home-series, with many being split decisions.

In both UNF’s previous conference series this season, they have lost the first game and won the second. The ball is in UNF’s court this time around as a win on Saturday afternoon would extend Kennesaw State’s current seven-game losing streak. The game will tip-off at five o’clock tomorrow and be seen on ESPN+, and there will be limited-capacity seating at UNF Arena.


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