Dallas Moore is quite the go to scorer in clutch time. Unfortunately for North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll and the Ospreys, Northwestern's Tre Demps possesses the same cold blooded nature. Even more unfortunate, he had the final chance.
After Moore made a fading floater off the glass to tie the game with 34 ticks left on the clock, Demps answered with a silky, step-back jumper to win the game with two seconds remaining. The Wildcats completed a seven-point comeback and defeated North Florida, 69-67, in Evanston on Thursday night.
"That was a heck of a college game," Northwestern head coach Chris Collins said. "North Florida played really well. There is a reason they're predicted to challenge Florida Gulf Coast in their league. They have some really good players and they presented a lot of problems for us."
Those problems started with the Ospreys' big men Romelo Banks and Chris Davenport. Early in the game, the Ospreys made getting the ball to the 6-11 Banks a priority. This kept the Wildcats honest by ensuring they would leave a big lineup on the floor. And that's when Davenport's athleticism and quickness hurt Northwestern. The 6-8 forward was able to stretch the floor and finish with 17 points.
Their patience with finding Banks and Davenport allowed them to walk into halftime with only a two-point deficit. Then the Dallas Moore show began. He found his outside shooting stroke and became more aggressive on the offensive end.
"That guard Dallas Moore is a heck of a player," Collins said.
The Ospreys were in the middle of an offensive drought midway through the 2nd half when Morre knocked down a tough three that ignited the UNF team. Trent Mackey drained a shot from long range just 30 seconds later and Demarcus Daniels continued the trend and gave UNF the lead with 11 minutes on the clock.
But the patience, which gave them their lead, is also what caused them to watch their seven-point advantage dwindle in the closing minutes. Aside from Moore's acrobatic finish, UNF scored just four points over the final three minutes of play. Meanwhile, Northwestern freshman Bryant McIntosh tallied six of his own points late in the game to tie the score.
"In the last couple minutes, we finally went to a smaller lineup and got some big stops. Obviously guys made big plays down the stretch," Collins said. "Tre had the ball. We thought we had a good matchup, and he did what he does."
What he did sent North Florida walking away from Welsh-Ryan Arena with a loss. Now, they continue their road trip and head to Northern Iowa to battle an undefeated Panthers team.