Cool Shooting Costs Ospreys in ASUN Tournament Opener

OPENING TIP

Score:
 No. 5 North Alabama 68, No. 4 North Florida 60
Records: North Florida (8-15 | North Alabama (12-10)
Location: Swisher Gym (Jacksonville, Fla.)
The Short Story: The 2020-21 North Florida men’s basketball season came to a tough end Thursday with a 68-60 loss to North Alabama in opening round play of the ASUN Tournament at Swisher Gym. Ospreys shot an uncharacteristic 19 percent from the three-point line and were out-rebounded by 18.

BY THE NUMBERS

– Second-team All-ASUN performer Jose Placer led the way for UNF with 15 points

– Sophomore Emmanuel Adedoyin finished with 14 points while All-ASUN first-team selection, Carter Hendricksen, added 11 points and five rebounds in comeback from a sprained ankle

– Freshman Josh Berenbaum, the reigning ASUN Newcomer of the Week, chipped in 12 points including a pair of three-pointers and a team high six rebounds

– North Alabama was led by double-doubles from  Emanuel Littles (20 pts/13 rebs) and Mervin James (17 pts/11 rebs)

– Lions outrebounded the Ospreys, 48-30

– Ospreys finished with a season low 5 three-pointers made, going 5 for 26 from the arc (19.2%) 

– UNF held UNA to just 2 of 12 (16.7%) from long range

NOTABLE MOMENTS

– The two squads treated fans to a closely contested game for much of the first half with the margin hovering between two and six points

– North Florida was cold from the outside, missing all 8 of their three-point attempts in the opening stanza

– Ospreys closed the first period on a 10-4 run and headed into intermission tied 27-27

Emmanuel Adedoyin opened the spurt with four points followed by a Carter Hendricksen basket and free throw | Jose Placer netted the final basket of the half

– UNF opened the second half strongly, building a 6-point lead after an 8-2 spurt which included a pair of Hendricksen buckets

– The Lions answered with the next seven points to retake the lead before North Florida responded with four straight points to lead 39-36

– A 9-0 for UNA switched the lead and saw the Lions lead 45-39, but seven consecutive points for the Ospreys including the first three-pointer of the game, a trey for Adedoyin, put UNF in front 46-45 with 8:19 remaining in the game

– North Alabama would grab the momentum over the next several minutes, using a 13-2 run that saw the Ospreys go without a field goal for nearly seven minutes

Josh Berenbaum hit the first of his two threes to half the run but Ospreys could get no closer than five the rest of the way

– 12 of the Lions final 14 points were free throws as UNA was able to secure the win from the charity stripe

 
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE

– North Florida lost in the opening round of the ASUN Tournament for the first time since 2014 | UNF claimed their lone ASUN Tournament the following year (2015)

Josh Berenbaum reached double-digits in each of his last three games

Jose Placer ended the season scoring in double figures in final 10 games and netted 10+ points in a team best 20 games

– Win for UNA was just their second all-time in the series vs North Florida

LAST WORD – Head Coach Matthew Driscoll

“Really felt like the second half, we had a really good start. We continued to get stops like we did to end the first half and were able to make some buckets. I think we got by six and then we seemed to allow their ability to either get to the rim or get loose for a three in transition to let them get back in the game. We then struggled with some empty offensive possessions. Give them credit too because down the stretch they made all their free throws. Beating us on the glass by 18 demonstrated their resiliency and relentless attacking on rebounds ended up wearing us out. They took advantage and got some second chances and put back baskets. Give them credit because they won the game. We told the guys the second half would come down to rebounding and free throws and that’s exactly what happened. I like the way our guys figured things out and worked at the end to try and mount a comeback. We were able to finally make some shots but it was too little, too late.” 

NEXT UP

The loss marked the conclusion of the 2020-21 season for the Ospreys while North Alabama advanced to Friday’s semifinal meeting with No. 1 seed Liberty at 2 p.m. in UNF Arena.

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