Jacksonville Sports Day

MBB: Offense Explodes in UNF Win Over Edward Waters, 97-65

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –– Sparked by a pair of 20-plus point performances, the North Florida basketball team erupted for a near program Division I record total in topping crosstown foe Edward Waters, 97-65, on Monday night at UNF Arena.

The Ospreys (4-3) posted a season best 47 points in the first half and topped it with a 50-point tally in the second in defeating the Tigers (4-2) for the sixth consecutive time. Junior Beau Beech led the way for UNF finishing with 25 points, including a smoldering 7-for-10 performance from long distance. Sophomore center Romelo Banks also had a career night finishing with personal bests in points (20) and rebounds (8).

EWC’s Nathanial Hill led all scorers with 29 while teammate Darion Green added 21 as the duo accounted for 50 of the team’s 65-point total.

“I didn’t know how the team would respond after playing well in Cancun and travelling back home,” said head coach Matthew Driscoll. “I was proud of the energy and effort the guys demonstrated. I thought we did a good job of moving the ball around on offense and then also defending the ball. Overall, I was excited about how the team as a whole played. It was nice to see Beau and Romelo be able to get things rolling offensively because we need that from both of them as we move forward. We still have to get back to work and continue finding ways to improve on both ends of the floor.”

The Ospreys opened with the first five points of the contest, only to watch EWC respond with six straight points of their own to grab their only lead of the night, 6-5. UNF would open up a double-digit lead over the next eight minutes of play behind the hot shooting of Beech, which featured a stretch of three consecutive treys.

The Tigers refused to go away quietly, trimming the UNF lead to single digits several times including 39-33 following an 11-2 spurt that ended with 1:58 remaining. UNF rallied to close the period though scoring the final eight points to carry a 47-33 lead into the halftime break.

North Florida would quickly extend the lead to near 20 after outscoring EWC, 21-13, through the first seven minutes of the second half. A 10-3 surge by the Tigers would be their last push as the Ospreys closed the game on a 26-9 run to claim the comfortable victory extending their current win streak to three games.

For the game, UNF shot 57 percent (37-65) from the floor, making 12-29 (41 percent) from beyond the arc. The Ospreys outrebounded the Tigers, 46-32, and dished out a season best 25 assists, just one shy of the program’s Division I record. Jalen Nesbitt finished with six assists and no turnovers while Demarcus Daniels handed out five and Beech dished out four. Daniels also collected four of the team’s six blocked shots on the night.

UNF continues its busy week of competition on Wednesday with a visit to in-state foe Bethune-Cookman. The Ospreys and Wildcats are slated to tipoff at 8 p.m. in Daytona Beach.

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