UNF downs the Eagles with improbable comeback

Spinnaker

By Josh Brannock, Sports Editor

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After entering halftime down by 17 against Florida Gulf Coast Jan. 7, the UNF Ospreys (9-8, 3-1) made it clear to the rest of the Atlantic Sun conference that they would not go down easy. The team came out of the Fort Meyers with an 88-81 overtime win.

In a game that featured back-and-forth runs from both teams UNF managed to come back from the halftime deficit and turned a once probable blowout into an overtime thriller.

Down by eight with just 5:25 left in the game UNF began to take over the game. The Ospreys used a 13 to five run to close out regulation. The Ospreys held a 77-75 lead in the closing moments of the game, but FGCU’s Brett Comer hit a layup with just 32 seconds left.

The game was not over after the layup however. Senior forward Matt Sauey committed a foul on the inbound pass which sent the Eagles to the line with an opportunity to take the lead. Comer missed the free throw, but Dante Holmes managed to get the offensive rebound and FGCU called a timeout. Luckily for the Ospreys, FGCU could not make anything out of the late chance and the game headed into overtime.

In the first overtime game of the season UNF was dominated by Kansas State and would eventually lose by 11. Against FGCU the Ospreys came out of the gates fast and hard, with a new found confidence after making an improbable comeback.

UNF would have to go into overtime shorthanded as senior point guard Jimmy Williams fouled out of the game in the final minutes of the second half.

UNF started the overtime period on an eight to two run and held an 85-79 lead with 1:16 left in the period. FGCU never managed to get within three points of the Ospreys after the early run and eventually UNF would come away with the overtime win.

This is the first overtime win for UNF since the spine-chilling triple overtime win over Kennesaw State Feb. 2, 2011. The Ospreys were lead by two 20 plus point performances from their outside specialists. Leading scorer junior guard Parker Smith scored 23 points on the evening hitting 50 percent (5 for 10) of his shots from three point range. The teams second leading scorer on the season junior forward Jerron Grannberry put up 21 points in 36 minutes of play.

The Ospreys are off to a hot start as they have won three of the first four A-Sun games and have won four of their last five. UNF picked up its second road win of the season making them 2-7 and dropped FGCU to 7-2 at home this season. UNF will look to continue its best start to conference play in the programs A-Sun history as they travel to Stetson University Jan. 9 to take on the Hatters (6-9, 3-2).