Men’s basketball suffers heartbreaking loss to Duquesne on buzzer-beater

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The University of North Florida Ospreys went head-to-head with a talented Duquesne University squad on Monday, losing in the final seconds of the game in devastating fashion.

The Ospreys entered fresh off a win in their home opener on Saturday, with Monday’s showdown serving as the start of a challenging week. A Wednesday date with the No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats looms on the schedule, but UNF couldn’t look past the opponent at hand, who had already shown just what they’re capable of.

The Duquesne Dukes possessed a 3-1 record going into Monday’s affair, with their only loss coming to Kentucky. Things got off to a very even start, with the score being deadlocked at 18-18 after seven minutes of play.

Hendricksen drives along the baseline
It was clear from the get-go that the two teams were locked in for a slugfest. (UNF athletics)

The Ospreys were much more efficient on offense in the first half, converting on 60% of their shot attempts and knocking down five three-pointers. This allowed UNF to enter halftime with a 43-42 lead, but didn’t mean a thing unless the Ospreys could keep it going after the break.

As the second half began, it was much of the same as the two teams jockeyed it out. When everything was said and done, the game saw a total of 23 lead changes and 18 occasions in which the score was even.

The highlight of Monday’s duel was easily the battle of guard play. UNF’s Jarius Hicklen dropped 24 points, making four three-pointers in the process. Duquesne had an answer in the form of Dae Dae Grant, though, who had himself a 26-point night.

As the second half wound down to an end, the Ospreys fell behind occasionally, but never let it get away from them. If they weren’t leading, they were lingering within striking range. 

Things became most tense in the final minute, with Grant sinking two free throws to put Duquesne up 81-80 with 39 seconds left. Hicklen took matters into his own hands, driving to the lane and converting on a layup, drawing a foul in the process.

In an unforeseen twist for the skilled shooter, his free throw fell short, giving Duquesne the ball back with a chance to win. After a multitude of passes, guard Tevin Brewer made a move to give himself an open look from free-throw distance.

With his momentum carrying him forward, Brewer drilled the game-winning shot to give the Dukes a dramatic win to improve to 4-1. Brewer may have only scored four points all night, but he had the two that mattered the most.

Undoubtedly a heartbreaking loss, the Ospreys are well aware that now is not the time to hang their heads in sorrow. Head coach Mathew Driscoll pointed to the importance of this postgame.

“We’ve got to continue to build upon that, but most importantly, we’ve got to continue to stay the course,” Driscoll said

UNF will have their hands full in their next outing, having to face the fifteenth-ranked team in the country. Driscoll’s unit will need to compartmentalize the pain of Monday and go into Rupp Arena on Wednesday with a fresh mindset, ready to potentially pull off a monumental upset.


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