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NEWARK, N.J. - In his first Atlantic Sun Championship game, A-Sun Freshman of the Year Derick Newton recorded a 28-point, 11-rebound double-double to lead No. 7 Stetson past No. 2 NJIT in dominating fashion, 82-67. The win catapults the Hatters to an A-Sun Championship Semifinal match-up vs. No. 6 Lipscomb on Thursday.
The Hatters surged out to the early lead over A-Sun newcomers NJIT after both teams traded buckets early on. Two straight three-pointers from Newton gave Stetson the 21-13 advantage before sophomore Luke Doyle knocked down another triple in transition as the lead swelled to double digits and the visiting squad never looked back.
The Green and White entered the locker room at the break having locked down the Highlanders on defense, holding the home team to just one field goal in the final five minutes of the half. The Hatters increased their 13-point lead in the second 20 minutes, going up by as many as 24 points before NJIT attempted a late, but ultimately futile rally.
Damon Lynn led the way for NJIT with 24 points, followed by 13 from Ky Howard and 11 from Rob Ukawuba. Newton's impressive night was coupled with 21 points from point guard Divine Myles, while Doyle and Brian Pegg joined them in double figures.
The Highlanders were cold shooting from behind-the-arc, just 2-for-26, while Stetson was hot, notching a blistering 53.6 percent from the floor. The 82 points for the Hatters marks the 21st time Stetson has recorded at least 80 points in a contest on the season.
Stetson now travels to Nashville to face fellow upset-minded No. 6 Lipscomb on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Allen Arena. The Bisons defeated No. 3 Jacksonville in overtime, 92-89, in Swisher Gymnasium.
NJIT - Stetson Quarterfinal Notes
- First Team All-Conference performer Damon Lynn ends the season with 99 three pointers, which is 11th-most in A-Sun single-season history.
- The win marks the Hatters' first A-Sun Championship victory since 2013. The Hatters are in search of their first appearance in the A-Sun Championship Final since 1994.
- Stetson improves its record to 1-2 vs. the Highlanders, notching its first win over NJIT in the A-Sun Quarterfinal contest.
- Senior Ky Howard finishes his career for NJIT as the all-time assists leader, finishing the year with 134 including two Tuesday night.