Men’s basketball falls to High Point in high-scoring affair

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

Featured image via UNF athletics

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Saturday’s showdown between the University of North Florida and High Point University featured plenty of scoring, but things didn’t go UNF’s way in the closing minutes, resulting in a 93-88 loss. 

Just about every statistical category was in UNF’s favor, yet the Ospreys weren’t able to come away with a victory. The culprit?

Free throws.

The disparity between the two teams’ trips to the line couldn’t have been further apart. The High Point Panthers took 38 attempts – 29 of which they made – from the charity stripe, while UNF only had 17 such opportunities.

This isn’t always inherently because of poor officiating, though. Different styles of play lead to a varying likelihood of drawing a foul. 

This could have been far more damaging if it wasn’t for UNF’s success elsewhere in the game. The Ospreys’ typical style of play has led to rebounding struggles in the past, but this was one category that gave UNF a fighting chance on Saturday.

Forwards Jadyn Parker and Carter Hendricksen posted 11 points each in the game’s first half, leading the Ospreys into halftime deadlocked with the Panthers 47-47. These two squads were in for a fight, one that neither was going to give up easily.

The second half started strong for the Ospreys, who opened up a seven-point lead within the early minutes. With 14 minutes remaining, High Point usurped the lead with a layup by forward Zach Austin, who recorded 25 points of his own on Saturday.

With just two minutes left, the game was even at 83-83. Austin was back at it, teaming up with guard Jaden House on a pair of buckets that gave the Panthers a four-point lead with just over one minute left on the clock.

The Ospreys worked the deficit back down to two, but couldn’t come up with a stop on the defensive end. All hope seemed lost. 

A miracle – or a costly mistake, depending on who you root for – fell into UNF’s hands with 12 seconds remaining. Hendricksen was fouled while shooting a three-point shot, subsequently drilling all three free throws.

Now down just one point, it was time for another intentional foul. The Panthers took care of business at the line, pushing their lead back to three. UNF guard Jarius Hicklen gave it one last shot, as his three-point attempt met the rim with an unfriendly bounce.

Saturday was another example of a struggle that has plagued UNF often in the young season: inability to close out tight games. High Point joins Duquesne and Washington as the latest team that has barely escaped their duel with the Ospreys with a win.

Coach Driscoll collects his thoughts during timeout
Coach Driscoll is no stranger to optimism, always looking forward to his team’s next opportunity to bounce back. (Riley Platt)

Despite the disappointing result, UNF head coach Matthew Driscoll is looking ahead to what’s next.

“Really excited about what’s ahead for us,” Driscoll said. “But most importantly, watch this one out [and] see how we can get better.”

As for what’s next, the Ospreys will face off with the top-ranked Houston Cougars on Tuesday. This will give UNF a good idea of what they’re made of before returning home Saturday to host Bethune-Cookman. 


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