Placer’s 31 points not enough as Ospreys fall to North Alabama

Riley Platt, General Assignment Reporter

The UNF men’s basketball squad was back in action on Friday night with a chance to take down the conference-leading North Alabama Lions. A plethora of issues plagued the Ospreys all night long, but they never stopped fighting. 

The Ospreys got off to an ugly start. Less than three minutes into the game, they found themselves down 11-1, warranting a timeout by head coach Matthew Driscoll. A Jose Placer layup halted the run, but North Alabama didn’t miss a beat. Anytime the Ospreys were able to get something going, UNA was there to shut it down with a bucket of their own. 

Jose Placer finished as the Ospreys’ top scorer, notching 31 points in the loss (Justin Nedrow)

A significant source of the Ospreys’ struggles early on was an inability to convert on the few quality scoring chances they created. Shooting 36.7 percent from the field didn’t help much either. While things looked grim, the Ospreys were able to adjust and provide hope for the sizable home crowd at UNF Arena. 

It was time for the Ospreys to put together a run of their own, highlighted by a Josh Endicott bucket that cut the deficit to five points. Furthermore, this gap would grow, though, as the Lions stretched their lead back out to 11 points. Right on track with the back and forth nature of this game, the Ospreys got some shots to fall and went into halftime down 38-31. A seven-point deficit at halftime was not bad at all.

Just two minutes into the half, UNF forward Carter Hendricksen picked up his fourth foul, which would be critical later on. Due to struggling defense, the Ospreys weren’t able to get within striking range for the early parts of the second half. Coach Driscoll spoke on these struggles postgame.

“They have a lot of guys that can make plays. For us to only have six assists, it’s a huge sign. It means that we’re not in sync and that we’re not connected the way we need to be connected. In my opinion, if you score 78 points, you should win. We’ve got to make sure that we’re locked in to get those consecutive stops.”

Another critical storyline throughout the game was the play of Carter Hendricksen. The veteran was not much of a factor offensively, only putting up five field goal attempts. An interesting situation happened when Hendricksen fouled out, despite the scoring system showing that he only had four fouls. This mix-up was sorted out, and Hendricksen wouldn’t be able to return for the remainder of the contest. Coach Driscoll addressed the quiet performance after the game.

“I thought they did a great job making sure he didn’t get the ball. When you put that kind of pressure on the handler, it’s hard for those guys to find guys when they’re open. We have to do a better job finding him, hitting him, and then him being ready to let it fly.”

Eventually, the Ospreys were able to get things rolling midway through the second half. A clutch three-pointer from Ryan Burkhardt brought the Ospreys within one point. Another Osprey would foul out as Emmanuel Adedoyin picked up his fifth. This was quite untimely, as things were heating up. Another Burkhardt three tied the game at 72 points apiece.

For the first time all night, UNF took the lead with a shot by Dorian James. North Alabama would answer to tie, and then with a three to regain the lead. UNF guard Jose Placer continued to knock down shots, but the last few just wouldn’t fall. Despite his 31 point outing, the Ospreys fell to the Lions 82-78. 

UNF will have a chance to bounce back tomorrow as they face the Lions once more. The game will tip-off at 5 PM at UNF Arena and can also be streamed on ESPN+.


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