Parker Smith eclipses 20 points in a game for first time this year to lead Ospreys to victory

Spinnaker

Jordan Harirchi, Assistant Sports Editor

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The UNF men’s basketball team returned home Dec. 30 for the first time since the 80-58 trouncing of Jacksonville University Dec. 3. The Ospreys were looking to become 6-0 at home on the year and win their seventh straight home game dating back to last season.

UNF (7-7, 1-0) beat Palm Beach Atlantic (3-10) 85-78 thanks to help from a reconfigured lineup. The Ospreys have dominated this year at home, but have struggled on the road. UNF’s last loss at home was a close 78-75 game against Mercer Feb. 28, 2011. Although perfect at home, the team is 1-7 on the road, all against out-of-conference opponents. UNF has played, and lost, to three ranked teams this year, #2 Ohio State, #10 Florida, and, at the time of the game, #19 Alabama.

With the win the Ospreys close out 2011 at .500. This is the first time UNF has entered a new year with a .500 or better record in their short Division I career.

On paper, the Ospreys were favored to beat the Sailfish easily. Going into the half up 41-35, the Sailfish tore that paper into pieces.
That wasn’t us. Forty-one points to somebody is not us,” head coach Matthew Driscoll said. “We were in a little funk.”

Driscoll played with the lineup and found the team’s hot hand in the second half.  After going one for five from the field in the first half, junior guard/forward Jerron Granberry came to life in the second going four for six.

Junior guard Parker Smith also singed the net, going five for 11 from the three-point line to help the Ospreys outscore the Sailfish 50-37 in the second half.
Smith missed his first free throw of the night but sunk his next eight to help close out the victory. Smith, scoring 23 points, is the first Osprey to eclipse 20 points in a game this year.

The Ospreys play next against the Belmont Bruins at the University of North Florida Jan. 2 in their second conference game. Despite losing to Belmont 87-46 in the Atlantic Sun Championship, Driscoll said the team is prepared.