COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UNF Hit 17 Threes in 93-81 Win Over Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The North Florida basketball team made a program record 17 three-pointers en route to a wire-to-wire 93-81 victory over Illinois in the team's season opener Friday night at the Prairie Capital Conference Center.

The Ospreys (1-0) got 26 points from junior Dallas Moore and 25 by senior Beau Beech in earning the opening game victory over the Illini (0-1). As a team, UNF made 17 of 33 attempts from long distance led by Beech, who went 7 of 8 from the arc. Six of the seven Osprey players in the game connected on a three-pointer.

In addition to their strong outside shooting, North Florida had 20 assists on its 35 baskets while committing just six turnovers. Moore ended the game with a double-double after collecting 10 assists with no turnovers. 

Mike Thorne Jr., scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to pace Illinois while Malcolm Hill added 20 points and 10 boards.

"Really proud of the guy's effort tonight," said head coach Matthew Driscoll. "I thought they played humble and hungry. We know that we got guys who can shoot it and we just wanted the guys to play freely and in a flow. It was great to see how unselfish the team was by having 20 assists on 35 baskets with only six turnovers. The guys really played with great poise tonight."

Moore got the Ospreys rolling early scoring eight of the team's first 11 points. After just five minutes of play, UNF had built an 18-9 lead over the Illini.

Midway through the first half, UNF hit three consecutive treys to open a double-digit lead, 35-21, and extended it to an 18-point edge. The Illini made a late push trimming the Osprey lead to just, 47-39, at the break.

North Florida raced out the blocks in the second half pushing their lead to a game high 23 points, 68-45, just five minutes into play. Beech and Chris Davenport both picked up their fourth fouls and had to spend some time on the bench. 

With the Osprey duo off the floor, Illinois slowly began cutting into the margin eventually pulling to within nine, 74-67. Trent Mackey halted the rally with a four-point play to put UNF back ahead by double digits as UNF cruised to the final margin of victory.

North Florida now heads back to Jacksonville for Monday's home opener against UT Rio Grande Valley at  7 p.m. in UNF Arena.

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