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UNF Advances to Atlantic Sun Championship Game

MACON, Ga. — The University of North Florida Ospreys continued their unlikely run for the Atlantic Sun Conference championship with a 59-55 upset victory over second-seeded East Tennessee State (22-11) in last night’s semi-finals in Macon.

UNF (15-18) faces top-seeded Belmont (29-4), the league’s two-time defending tournament champion, on Saturday at 6 p.m. The winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Taking advantage of their cold-shooting opposition, the young Ospreys jumped out to a 31-27 halftime lead and sealed the win when ETSU missed a short jumper and a pair of three-point attempts in the game’s waning seconds.

Deadly free-throw accuracy by UNF proved to be the difference down the stretch.

David Jeune, a 6’6” sophomore from Okeechobee, paced the upset-minded Ospreys with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Mike Smith, the A-Sun player of the year, led ETSU with 20 points.

Most of the announced attendance of 2,488 had departed Macon’s University Center before the tip-off of last night’s UNF-East Tennessee contest, shortly after host Mercer University was eliminated from the tournament.

Today’s championship game against Belmont, an 80-72 winner over Mercer in last night’s earlier semi-final game, will be televised on ESPN 2.

Belmont, which is hoping to make its fourth appearance in the Big Dance, defeated the Ospreys twice during the regular season, winning handily in Nashville in early January and by a razor-thin 69-67 margin at UNF on February 5.

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