JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three players scored in double figures as the FGCU men's basketball team fell to the Ospreys of North Florida by the final score of 69-59 Thursday night at UNF Arena.
The win improved the Ospreys to 7-20 overall and 5-12 in Atlantic Sun Conference play, while the Eagles fell to 11-19 overall and 7-12 in the conference.
UNF limited the Eagles to 38.5 percent shooting from the field and held the fifth-best 3-point shooting team in the conference to a 1-for-10 performance beyond the 3-point arc.
FGCU erased an 11-point UNF halftime lead and turned it into a six-point win in the first meeting with the Ospreys this year, but that wasn’t the case Thursday after the Ospreys weathered a late first half rally by the Eagles and took the game over when the second half started, leading by as many as 19 points.
UNF held an 11-point lead with 5:42 to play in the first half and looked to be in good shape after a Cortez Riley jumper put the Ospreys up 35-25 with 52 seconds to play in the half. The Eagles, however, scored the last six points of the half with the final two coming on a Delvin Franklin (Houston, Texas) steal and layup in the final seconds of the half.
Stan Januska got the Ospreys going again in the second half, draining a 3-pointer that Cuka followed with a driving layup to put the Ospreys up 40-31.
A Kyle Marks (West Palm Beach, Fla.) dunk at the 16:30 mark of the half cut the lead to four points, but the Ospreys were finally able to take charge with an 11-0 run that Cuka began with a 3-pointer at the 8:36 mark. He followed that with another 3-pointer before giving the Ospreys their biggest lead of the game, 64-45 advantage, with a layup at the 5:49 mark.
The Eagles were able to cut the Osprey advantage to 10 in the final five minutes of play but would get no closer. The win was the first for UNF against Florida Gulf Coast in seven tries and also kept the Eagles winless on the road this season.
Derrick O’Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.) led the Eagles with 15 points, followed by Marks who scored 13 and had a game-high eight rebounds.
UNF won the battle of the boards 39-32. The Ospreys turned the ball over 17 times compared to 16 FGCU miscues.
FGCU returns to the court for its season finale in search of its first road win of the year on Saturday afternoon against the Jacksonville Dolphins. Tip-off is set for approximately 4:15 p.m.