Men's basketball looks to pull off upset in Alabama

Spinnaker

Josh Brannock, Sports Editor

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After failing to squeeze by Kansas State in overtime Dec. 11, the upset minded Ospreys looked to avenge their loss by beating Auburn Dec. 17 in Alabama. UNF (5-6, 1-0) stayed close for majority of the game, only trailing by double digits twice, but eventually fell 84-71.

Turnovers and fouls proved to be costly for UNF at the end of the game. The Ospreys gave the ball away 16 times in the game. The Tigers (6-1, 0-0) reached the line 43 times and even though they shot a team 65 percent from the line, Auburn gained 28 of its 84 from free throws. Both Matt Sauey and Jerron Grannberry fouled out of the game and Andy Diaz and Will Wilson both had four fouls of their own.

While the Ospreys had 30 total personal fouls, Auburn had 26. Even though there was only a four foul difference UNF went to the line just 25 times. UNF only shot 40 percent from the stripe, 11 of 25.

Offensively the one thing that has kept the Ospreys in games recently has been their outside shot. That trend continued tonight as they hit 44 percent, 8 of 18, of their shots from beyond the arc. Sophomore forward Travis Wallace led the team with 13 points. Diaz added 11 points of his own and freshman Fred Landers scored 8, his highest total of the season. Senior guard Jimmy Williams led all players with 9 assists.

The Ospreys seemed like they were going to take momentum into the second half after they took a three point lead thanks to a Grannberry three with just over two and a half minutes left before the half. Auburns Kenny Gabriel, 15 points and 13 rebounds, then hit a jumper to bring the game within one point. On UNF’s next possession Sophomore forward Charles McRoy threw down a huge dunk to put the lead back at three, 36-33, with just 1:56 left in the half. Auburn would then go on a 6-0 run to close the half up 39-36.

UNF trailed the Tigers for nearly seven minutes in the second half until Diaz hit a jumper to tie the game at 47. After that the Ospreys trailed for the rest of the game. They constantly came within two points of Auburn, but could never hit the big shot or make the defensive stop.

With a 5-6 record after the loss UNF will look to become a .500 team again Dec. 19 as they travel to Virginia to take on Virginia Tech (8-3, 0-0) at 7 p.m. The Hokies beat Atlantic Sun foe East Tennessee State, picked to finish second in the conference, 64-53 Nov. 12.