MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (Nov. 7, 2020) – Junior Jeffrey Hernandez scored a team-high 29 points but none more important than the final two with time winding down as Florida National (1-2) knocked off St. Thomas (0-1), 89-87, on Saturday evening.
In the final seconds of regulation, Hernandez laid-up the go-ahead bucket – his 11th field goal of the game – to give the Conquistadors a two-point lead with 1.3 seconds on the clock. STU threw up a desperation shot which sailed wide for FNU’s first win of the season. The game-winning bucket was set up by a beautiful pass from junior Pride George, who drew a double-team while driving to the basket. The native of Coamo, Puerto Rico finished the night with five points and four assists.
The victory also marked the 100th-career win for Head Coach J.J. Thatcher, who is in his sixth season at helm at FNU.
Hernandez posted a game-high 29 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the floor. The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republican, came into the game as the team’s leading scorer, averaging 22.0 points per game. He was 3-of-8 from 3-point land and 4-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Senior Kenneth Santos also reached the 20-point plateau, scoring 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting (6-of-15 from beyond the arc) before fouling out. The native of San German, Puerto Rico, tallied a game-high six steals and dished out three assists.
Sophomore Yamil Diaz led the team in rebounding, grabbing seven boards to go along with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. The product of Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico blocked two shots and registered three steals versus the Bobcats. Leading the team in assists were senior Jose Benitez (6) and sophomore Hirotaka Ohashi (5).
Despite draining 11 treys in the first half, FNU found itself down 51-45 at intermission. The Conquistadors used hot shooting in the second half (57.1 percent from the floor), outscoring the Bobcats, 44-36, in the final 20 minutes.
FNU finished the game, shooting 47.7 percent from the floor (31-of-65) and was 13-of-34 from 3-point range (38.2 percent). STU ended the contest, converting 31-of-62 from the floor (50.0 percent) and hit on 40.7 percent of its shots from downtown (11-of-27). A big difference in the game was the Conquistador defense which forced 22 Bobcat turnovers which resulted in 28 points for FNU.
The Conquistadors will next head to West Palm Beach, Florida, to take on the Keiser Seahawks on Monday, November 16. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
About FNU: Florida National University opened its first class on January 4th, 1988, in the city of Hialeah, Florida, as Florida International Institute under the administration of Dr. José Regueiro, Dr. María C. Regueiro, and Mr. Omar Sánchez. FNU Athletic Department has more than 250 student-athletes in 11 different sports. Established in 2013, FNU Athletics is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA).
The mission of the Florida National University Athletic Department is to provide assistance within an athletic structure that promotes the development of a well-rounded education through structured sport and competition, to develop life skills of discipline, integrity, leadership, philanthropy and social responsibility, to elevate ethnic and cultural diversity within the athletic programs, to assure equitable opportunity for all staff and student-athletes, and to make the athletic program a durable source of pride for the student population, student-athletes, alumni, university, and community of FNU.