Back in the 2014-15 season, the Stetson Hatters didn’t notch their first road win until February 3, when they took down the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. Heading into Monday night’s game against the Florida International Golden Panthers, the Hatters were 0-3 on the road.
They are 1-1 in games played on a neutral court, but winless on the road.
Against the Golden Panthers, it looked as though the Hatters were poised for another road loss after the first half. Florida International held a four-point lead heading into the break, and looked as though they would extend their home winning streak to four games.
Down the stretch, Divine Myles put the Hatters on his back and propelled Stetson to the 81-75 victory, scoring the team’s first road win of the 2015-16 season in the process.
Early on in the game, it looked as though the Golden Panthers would run away with the contest. The Hatters were held to just 2 points for over the first five minutes, and Florida International jumped out to a 9-2 lead.
The Hatters would start to put points on the board, but struggled to keep up with the offensive output of the Golden Panthers. With just over 4 minutes to play in the first half, a Daviyon Draper layup put the Golden Panthers up by 18, prompting a timeout by Stetson.
Out of the timeout, the Hatters went on a 16-2 run to close out the first half, and bring themselves back into the game. Angel Rivera scored four points in the run, and Luke Doyle added five of his own, which put Stetson within 4 at halftime.
Florida International was clinging to a 41-37 lead after the first 20 minutes.
With the momentum firmly on their side, Grant Lozoya hit a three-pointer in the opening minute to continue the Hatters’ run. They would take a slim one-point lead shortly thereafter, but the Golden Panthers would retake the lead on a layup from Donte McGill.
Over the next ten minutes, the see-saw action would continue, as neither team could gain any separation as the game wore on. Adrian Diaz scored 8 straight points for the Golden Panthers to keep his team in the fight, but Stetson would answer back to keep the game tied.
With 1:20 left on the clock, and the game tied at 71, the game became about the play of Divine Myles, as he looked to carry his team to victory. Layups on back-to-back possessions and a pair of free throws pushed the Hatters to a 77-73 lead, and Stetson never looked back.
Strong free throw shooting in the closing minute helped preserve the victory for Stetson, and they knocked off the Florida International Golden Panthers by a final score of 81-75.
Myles led a balanced scoring attack for Stetson that saw four different players reach double-figures in points. Additionally, he scored a team-high 18 points, none more important than the six-straight he produced in the final 1:20 to give Stetson the lead.
Leo Goodman scored 12 points off the bench, and Angel Rivera added 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in the win.
Adrian Diaz paced the Golden Panthers, recording a game-high 24 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 6 blocks in a losing effort. Daviyon Draper added 15 points, and Donte McGill chipped in 12 off the bench.
The win, which was the third in four games for the Stetson Hatters (3-4), could be the victory they need to get things on track this season. Their second-half comeback will be a big confidence booster as the Hatters move on this season. Stetson will look to continue their winning ways when they welcome the UCF Knights to town on December 2.
As for the Florida International Golden Panthers (4-3), the loss puts an end to their three-game home winning streak. They will look to get back to their winning ways when they play host to the Elon Phoenix on December 4.