FLORENCE, Ala. – Carter Hendricksen showed strength again, scoring 31 points but didn’t get much help as the University of North Florida majority stuttered in a 91-78 loss to the North Alabama Lions.
After going on a three-game losing streak against Queens on Jan. 19, the Ospreys have fallen back to their old ways, now in the midst of another three-game slip. Losing six out of seven in the middle of conference play has plunged UNF to 12th in the ASUN conference standings.
A widespread production shortage plagued Ospreys on Saturday. Aside from Hendricksen’s 31 points and guard Jarius Hicklen’s 11, the rest of the starters combined for just seven points. This isn’t a new phenomenon, as Hendricksen has scored 30+ points in three of UNF’s last four games.
The osprey’s record during this stretch? Just one win and three losses.
UNF were unable to capitalize on these incredible performances, as was evident over the weekend. The game started anything but ideal, the lions quickly took a 20:6 lead.
Things quickly got ugly as North Alabama built a 23-point lead with over eight minutes left in the first half. Thanks to the efforts of Hendricksen and bench striker Dorian James, the Ospreys managed to limit the damage and narrow the gap to just 10 points before half-time.
Big Time Putback Bucket by @dorianj12 !
📺 https://t.co/jnOzc5PfL4#BirdsofTrey pic.twitter.com/Qips646ruG
— UNF Men’s Basketball (@OspreyMBB) January 28, 2023
It could have been worse but UNF went into the second half with a chance for a fresh start. They kept things in check, but the deficit mostly stayed around 10 points until half-time.
Thanks to the efforts of guard Daniel Ortiz, the Lions extended the lead to 16 points a number of times. The Ospreys had worked hard to get back into competition but there was still work to be done.
Two free throws from Hicklen cut the lead to 10 with two minutes remaining, but it was too little, too late. North Alabama hit his free throws as needed, preventing the Ospreys from getting back in range.
The Lions closed it out and won by 13 points to improve to a record of 13-10 and now sit eighth in the ASUN. It’s been a fine week for UNA, who also picked up a powerful win against the Jacksonville Dolphins on Thursday.
Speaking of dolphins, the Ospreys have an action-packed week ahead of them. Two fights with JU – away on Thursday and at home on Saturday – offer them a chance to get back in the game. It’s now or never for the Ospreys to turn things around this season.
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