Home Sports The week ahead in college basketball: UNF’s Jarius Hicklen rising to level of competition

The week ahead in college basketball: UNF’s Jarius Hicklen rising to level of competition

The week ahead in college basketball: UNF’s Jarius Hicklen rising to level of competition

UNF guard Jarius Hicklen (right, bottom) fights Pitt guard Jamarius Burton for a loose ball during Saturday's game at Pittsburgh.

University of North Florida guard Jarius Hicklen leads the Ospreys in points per game (14.5) and 3-point percentage (.423).

He’s better when the competition is tougher.

Hicklen had his fifth game in double figures in the Ospreys’ “money” games on the road when he had 15 points and added five rebounds and three assists on Saturday in UNF’s 82-56 loss to Pittsburgh. He is averaging more than a point per game higher (15.7) UNF’s six road games against NCAA Division I teams, Pitt, Gonzaga, Washington, Duquesne, Kentucky and Houston and is shooting .437 from the 3-point line in those games.

Hicklen had 24 points against Duquesne, 19 against Washington and 17 against Kentucky.

The loss to Pitt was the final non-conference guarantee game of the season.


Player of the week: Flagler sophomore guard Omar Figueroa of Puerto Rico continues to provide instant offense off the bench. He had 16 points and made 4 of 8 from 3-point range in an 84-69 loss to Young Harris (Ga.) to open the Peach Belt Conference schedule on Dec. 12, then went for 24 points and made 4 of 7 3-pointers in a 79-65 victory over Eckerd on Saturday. Figueroa is averaging 13.1 points per game, fourth on the team, but has started only one game.

Stat line of the week: Sophomore forward Kyle Young of Flagler had 20 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots in the Saints’ victory over Eckerd. It was his team-leading sixth double-double of the season.

Noting UNF (3-7):  The Ospreys will be the only area team with two games this coming week, at home against Davis & Elkins at 7 p.m. on Monday and at Bethune-Cookman at 2 p.m. on Thursday. … UNF center Jadyn Parker has won the tip-off in all 10 games this season.

Noting JU (5-3): The Dolphins were cruising with less than seven minutes left on Saturday against Charleston Southern, then got a scare before holding off the Bucs to win 72-63, JU’s 19th consecutive home victory. After CSU cut the lead to five points with 1:19 left, Bishop Snyder graduate Gyasi Powell (nine points, five rebounds) slipped inside for a basket with 44 seconds left and Osayi Osifo (nine points, eight rebounds) made two free throws to some insurance. Kevion Nolan had 15 points and six assists and Jordan Davis had 13 points.

Noting Edward Waters (2-5): Sophomore guard Tavares Oliver scored 21 points and seven rebounds in an 81-72 loss to Spring Hill (Ala.), the Tigers’ SIAC opening game of the season. EWU then made it 0-2 in Alabama with a 84-74 loss at Tuskegee.

Noting Trinity Baptist (5-5): In last week’s 83-57 victory over St. Andrews (N.C.), Westside High graduate Zach Kiadii had 20 points and Bartram Trail graduate Fausto Alvarez had 15 points and nine rebounds and made 7 of 9 shots from the floor. The Eagles made 61 percent of their shots and held St. Andrews to 39 percent.

Noting Flagler (6-6): The Saints lost their Peach Belt Conference opener to Young Harris but rebounded to win the first round of the Tampa Classic against Eckerd. The Saints led by 14 at one point before Eckerd knocked it down to four points with 6:04 left. Figeuroa then scored nine points during a 16-6 closing run, with one 3-point shot and two conventional three-point plays.

This week


Davis & Elkins at North Florida, 7 p.m.

Trinity Baptist at Nicholls State, 7 p.m.

Edward Waters at LeMoyne-Owen (Tenn.), 7:30 p.m.


Jacksonville at Louisiana-Monroe, 12:30 p.m.


North Florida at Bethune-Cookman, 2 p.m. 


Player of the week: JU senior guard Seraphine Bastin had 21 points and five rebounds, and shot 8 of 14 from the floor in a 66-52 loss at Ole Miss.

Stat line of the week: Flagler senior forward N’Mya Pierce had her fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 16 rebounds. She also made 6 of 8 free throws.

Noting UNF (3-5): The Ospreys were off last week but it will be a difficult road trip coming up with games at Auburn and Alabama. UNF is 0-2 against Auburn but played the Tigers tough last year before losing 72-65. The Ospreys have played Alabama once, losing 69-47 on Dec. 14, 2015. 

Noting JU (5-4): In the loss at Ole Miss, the Dolphins were suffocating on the perimeter, allowing the Rebels to make only 2 of 15 3-point attempts. But Ole Miss out-rebounded JU 48-32 and scored 38 of points in the paint.

Noting Edward Waters (5-6): After beating Spring Hill 72-63 in the first leg of their Alabama road trip, the Tigers were anemic on offense in a 71-30 loss to Tuskegee in an SIAC game on Saturday. EWU shot 11 of 52 from the floor (.211) and 1 of 17 from beyond the 3-point arc (.058) and had 27 turnovers. Junior guard Jourdan Avery had more than half of the Tigers’ points with 16. She and junior guard Isis Smith had 14 points each in the victory over Spring Hill.

Noting Trinity Baptist (3-7): Junior guard Emma Parrish of Palm Coast leads the Eagles in scoring (13.8 per game), steals (2.7) and 3-point shooting (.300), is second in assists (2.1) and fourth in rebounding (4.3). 

Noting Flagler (3-8): The Saints split their last two games in December, losing a Peach Belt game to Young Harris 63-51 and ending the calendar year on a strong note by rallying in the fourth quarter to beat Lynn University 84-70. The Saints broke away from a 57-57 tie with Lynn entering the final period with a 16-3 run, sparked by five points each from two sophomore guards, former Creekside player Taylor Gardner and Sharale McCormack. Gardner posted her second 16-point game in a row.

This week


Fort Lauderdale at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.


North Florida at Auburn, 1 p.m.


North Florida at Alabama, 1 p.m.


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