Leading in the scoring column for the Eagles (8-5, 0-0 MAC) was freshman James Thompson IV, who finished with 18 and nine rebounds. Thompson was a perfect 9-of-9 from the floor, coming just one rebound shy of his eighth double-double of the year.
Others reaching double digit scoring . . .
As a team, EMU shot 49.2 percent from the field (29-of-59), while hitting 36 percent of their threes (9-of-25). The nine triples were a high for this season, nearly doubling the Eagles' season average. They out rebounded the Ospreys (11-6, 0-0 ASun), 31-30, and forced two more turnovers, including nine steals. Meanwhile, the often hot three-point shooting North Florida squad was sharp once again, connecting on 45.8 percent of their three point attempts (11-of-24).
Both the Eagles and Ospreys came out firing, both shooting over 60 percent in the first seven minutes. UNF made six of its first 10 triple attempts, but EMU remained close by pounding the paint At the under-eight timeout, the score sat at 34-28 in the Eagles' favor.
The six-point lead proved to be the furthest EMU would be ahead of UNF in the first half, as the Ospreys showed no signs of slowing down. Grinding their way back, they retook the lead with just under two minutes to go in the first stanza. It was North Florida's first lead since the 17:50 mark. After trading a few points down the stretch, North Florida took a 46-45 lead into the break.
UNF began the second half by going on a 5-0 run to jump out to a quick six point lead. However, back-to-back buckets from Lee and Nazione kept the Ospreys from extending their advantage. With the deficit down to one, UNF went on another run, scoring six straight to take a 61-54 lead with just under 12 minutes to play.
Needing a quick response, EMU got it from Toney as he nailed back-to-back three point shots to whittle the deficit down to just one point with nine minutes to go. Over the next five minutes of action, EMU could not break through to get the lead back, trailing between two and four points the whole way, and ultimately trailing 75-71 heading into the final media timeout.
Out of the timeouts, EMU staged a 6-0 run, with four of the points coming from Thompson, to take back the lead, 77-75. UNF responded immediately with its 11th three of the game to regain the advantage. Following an empty possession from EMU, UNF nailed a jumper to take a three point edge with 30 seconds to go.
Coming out of a timeout, EMU turned the ball on an errant pass. After fouling to send UNF to the free throw line, the first attempt was missed, giving EMU the chance to tie things up. The ensuing Mangum three-pointer came up short. North Florida pulled down the rebound and put in a late bucket to seal the 82-77 victory.
With non-conference play in the books, the Eagles now turn their attention towards Mid-American Conference play, opening up the MAC campaign Wednesday at Central Michigan (7 p.m.)