Ospreys fall to Texas Tech in season opener

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

UNF’s season got underway on Tuesday as they put up a solid fight, but ultimately lost to Texas Tech 89-74.

The duel in Lubbock marked the beginning of a five-game road trip for the Ospreys. While there were promising moments for UNF, their opponent exposed some flaws that will have to be wrinkled out soon.

The Red Raiders got off to a blazing start, jumping out to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes. The only thing the Ospreys had going their way early was three-point shooting, a hallmark of the program.

As the first half progressed, UNF settled in a bit and gave Texas Tech some trouble. The Ospreys still weren’t playing to their full potential, but some mistakes by Texas Tech helped keep UNF in good shape.

The Red Raiders maintained a decent lead for most of the opening half, but the Ospreys continued to hang in there. The tides turned towards the end of the half, though, as Texas Tech opened up a 14-point lead going into halftime.

The biggest discrepancy between the two squads in the first half was scoring in the paint. While Texas Tech thrived, scoring over half of their first-half points down low, it took UNF nearly 15 minutes to score in the post. This issue continued to plague the Ospreys for the rest of the night.

UNF Ospreys. Photo by Jeremiah Wilson.

No matter what defensive scheme UNF Head Coach Matthew Driscoll drew up, the Red Raiders continued to score at will in the paint. It looked like things might get ugly, as non-conference games against bigger schools often go. 

Against all odds, the Ospreys managed to keep things relatively close. UNF used a 13-0 run in the closing minutes to tighten up the score, but Texas Tech decisively won this game.

The majority of UNF’s offensive production came from two opposite camps: team veteran Carter Hendricksen and new transfer Jarius Hicklen. The pair led the team with 14 points each. Despite the loss, the immediate impact by Hicklen has to be a positive for a team whose newcomers struggled last season.

The Ospreys were largely undermanned in many instances, but there is certainly room for improvement. Defending the paint, something that Texas Tech took full advantage of, was the most glaring issue. Rebounding is another area that showed some rust.

Coach Driscoll was proud of the effort his team put forth on Tuesday but also acknowledged areas of concern. “Obviously some guys did a lot of good things, but we’ve got a lot of mental errors…,” Driscoll said after the game. “Those are the kind of things that are very difficult to overcome, especially in an environment like this.”

There isn’t much time to recuperate, either, as the Ospreys face Texas A&M on Wednesday. The game starts at 8 p.m. and can be streamed on SEC Network+.

While a loss is never the desired result, the Ospreys have to feel good about their chances this season after a solid showing against a talented Texas Tech team. By minimizing errors, this team can be capable of great things.


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