Thursday, March 7, 2013

First Things First - Stetson's Return to the A-Sun Championship





Stetson men end long drought at A-Sun tournament

By DANIEL SHIRLEY
@DM_Shirley

Stetson head coach Casey Alexander and senior Adam Pegg are undefeated in their careers in the General Shale A-Sun Basketball Championships.

They have the smallest of sample sizes on which to judge their records, but they don’t mind that one bit.

Alexander, Pegg and the Hatters knocked off East Tennessee State 67-46 on Thursday in the first round of the championship at Mercer’s Hawkins Arena. The win was the Hatters’ first in the event since 2006 and they are making their first appearance since 2009.

It was Alexander’s first win as a head coach in the tournament; he is in his second season as the Hatters’ head coach. It was also Pegg’s first A-Sun Championship win after failing to reach the field of eight last year - his first year playing with the team after transferring from Delaware.

“It feels great. There are 10 of us in the league and four of us still playing. I guess there are five, but there will be four after tonight,” Alexander said. “I’m proud of my guys.”

One of the players he is proud of is Pegg.

The senior finished Thursday’s game with 17 points and nine rebounds. Joel Naburgs added 16 points, while Willie Green added a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Stetson dominated in the second half, outscoring ETSU 46-22 after the break.

“It feels really good. It’s my first one of my career,” Pegg said. “So it feels really good to get a win and get to the second round of the tournament. I had confidence in my team, and I expected to get this win, so it feels good.”

The Hatters (15-15) have to quickly turn their attention to the semifinals and a showdown with second-seeded Florida Gulf Coast. The two rivals face off at 8:00 p.m. on Friday after splitting their regular-season meetings.

“I don’t like a whole lot matching up with them,” Alexander said of the Eagles. “They’ve got great talented players, and they are really dynamic in how they play on both ends of the floor. The only way for us to be competitive in the game is for us to perform well and to be really solid on both ends. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s one we’re really excited about, and we know they will be ready to play as well, so let’s hope for a good game.”

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