UNF loses but still has a chance to dance
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Marc-Eddy Norelia poured in 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as No. 4 seed Florida Gulf Coast upset Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season champion and tournament No. 1 seed North Florida, 89-56 Thursday to advance to Sunday's conference final.
The Ospreys held a 21-12 lead eight minutes into the game but the Eagles ended the half on a 33-10 run.
"Nobody should come into your home and beat you by 30," UNF guard Dallas Moore said. " Tonight we let our offense dictate our defense and since we weren't hitting shots it affected us on the defensive end."
Head coach Matthew Driscoll was much more blunt in his assessment of the game.
"They dominated us," Driscoll said. "They didn't beat us. They dominated us."
As the highest remaining seed, the Eagles will host No. 7 seed Stetson, which upset No. 6 seed Lipscomb Thursday.
If Stetson upsets the Eagles on Sunday, UNF would represent the Atlantic Sun in the NCAA Tournament. Stetson is not eligible for post season play due to a poor APR. If the Eagles win on Sunday, UNF will play in the NIT. The regular season champion is guaranteed a spot in the NIT if they don't qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
"We've got another game to play," UNF guard Beau Beech said. "The season is not over. The Atlantic Sun season is over. But we still have post season play. That's a great accomplishment for the university going to the post season two consecutive years."
In just his third season at Florida Gulf Coast, coach Joe Dooley coached his 100th game and his Eagles limited North Florida to just 16 of 52 from the field (30.8 percent) and just 8 of 31 from beyond the arc (25.8 percent).
Christian Terrell and Zach Johnson contributed 16 and 15 points, respectively for Florida Gulf Coast (19-13), which built a 45-31 lead by intermission and outscored the Ospreys by 19 points in the second half.
Dallas Moore scored 15 points to help pace North Florida (22-11).
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