By Brett Rump (@BrettRumpSports)
Where is Stetson?
Coach Jon Coffman could probably tell you street by street directions to the University, the basketball arena, and maybe even the best place to grab a cup of coffee if you’re looking for Stetson. Coffman was an assistant basketball coach for the Hatters from 2001 thru 2009.
It’s a special place for him and his wife. It’s where she met while she was an assistant coach for the Stetson softball team.
The most important fact about the location of Stetson is it’s in Florida. In December. And it’s in the mid-70’s there…or about 50-60 degrees warmer than Indiana.
Nearly centered between Orlando and Daytona Beach in central Florida, the Mastodons head to DeLand to take on the Stetson Hatters Sunday afternoon.
Last year, Fort Wayne got a 30-point effort from Joe Reed and defeated the Hatters at the Memorial Coliseum 95-89. Two years ago, at Stetson, the Mastodons held on and won 87-76 behind Mo Evans 6-10 shooting from three and 20 points.
Stetson almost made the NCAA Tournament a year ago, advancing to the championship game of the Atlantic Sun conference. This season, the Hatters are 6-6, but 4-1 at home.
Expect another high-scoring game. In 10 of the last 11 games Stetson has played, at least one team has scored 80 points or better, and the Mastodons enter the game as the nation’s 10th highest-scoring team, averaging 88.0 points per game. Stetson averages 78 points per contest.
The ‘Dons will face another quick attacking point guard in sophomore Divine Myles. He’s averaging 16 points and 4 assists and is coming off back-to-back 23-point games. Against SIUE December 7th, he recorded a double-double by collecting 14 rebounds to go with his 23 points…and he’s 5’11”.
The Hatters top scorer is power forward Derick Newton (17.8 points per game). Newton recorded a double-double against South Alabama this past Saturday with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Mastodons have started the season with a difficult road schedule playing at Arkansas, Illinois State, and Notre Dame. Those three have combined to go a perfect 20-0 on their home floor. The experience of playing those games should pay off. If they’re going to prove that they learned from those losses and what it takes to win on the road in college basketball, the Mastodons need to win this game. Stetson is consistent with the level of play the Mastodons will face in the Summit League, and if they are going to back up their pick as the conference favorite, they need to prove they can win on the road.
The Mastodons won on the road with early success at Austin Peay. A good start against Stetson is critical this Sunday.
You can follow the Fort Wayne Mastodons men’s basketball team on Twitter @FortWayneMBB. Go Dons!