DELAND, Fla. — Rivalry games bring out the best in both teams, regardless of the time of year.
On Monday afternoon, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats and Stetson Hatters get a break from their respective conference slates for a mid-January non-conference rivalry game. The two teams, separated by a mere 26-minute drive down US-92, will meet for the 12th time since the 2007-08 season.
The teams alternated wins and losses over the first five meetings. In recent years, the Hatters have dominated the rivalry. This season, both teams have nearly identical records, with Stetson having played one more game than Bethune-Cookman. With rosters looking considerably different than they did a season ago, Monday’s rivalry game promises to be another exciting chapter in the history books of the Hatters and Wildcats.
After meeting twice last season, it will be the only time the two meet this season. A win for either school would give them bragging rights until next season, when the two square off once again.
Here’s what you need to know in advance of Monday’s rivalry game between the visiting Wildcats and host Hatters in DeLand, FL.
Last Time Out
Bethune-Cookman entered their game with the Florida A&M Rattlers on Saturday as one of three teams still undefeated in MEAC play. Thanks in large part to an 11-0 run to open the game, the Wildcats extended their winning streak to four games with a 99-81 drubbing of the visiting Rattlers.
Five players scored in double figures for the Wildcats, led by Shawntrez Davis, who had 22 points and seven rebounds in just 18 minutes of action. Fellow forward Soufiyane Diakite added 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Tabb went 6-of-10 from the floor and finished with 20 points of his own.
Isaiah Bailey stuffed the stat sheet off the bench, recording 19 points, six rebounds and eight assists in the win.
For the Hatters, it was an equally impressive outing in their previous game. Stetson picked up their second straight win at home, and pushed their record in conference play to 2-1 with an 87-69 win over the USC Upstate Spartans.
B.J. Glasford led the way on Saturday afternoon, recording 18 points to lead all scorers. He was 7-of-10 from the floor, and recorded five rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Myles and Angel Rivera chipped in with 11 points apiece, and the pair combined for 14 assists to just one turnover.
Freshman forward Abayomi Iyiola went for 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for his second double-double of the season.
Since the 2007-08 season, the Hatters and Wildcats have met a total of 11 times. The only season they didn’t square off since then was during the 2009-10 campaign. Over those 11 games, Stetson holds a 7-4 edge over Bethune-Cookman.
The Hatters enter Monday night having won four of the last five meetings between the two schools. Last season, they met in Daytona Beach, FL, with the Hatters scoring a 76-67 win on the road over the Wildcats.
Guard play was on full display on both sides of the ball. Divine Myles scored a game-high 29 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists to lead the Hatters. Guard Leo Goodman came off the bench to record 13 points and seven rebounds. For the Wildcats, then-junior Brandon Tabb scored 24 points, on 7-of-10 shooting from three point range, while also adding four rebounds and three steals. Jeffrey Altidort added 10 points and three assists off the bench.
The last win for Bethune-Cookman in the rivalry came during the 2015-16 season. The teams met twice, and the Wildcats picked up a 96-94 win over the Hatters in overtime in the latter meeting.
Players to Watch
Bethune-Cookman – Brandon Tabb
Redshirt senior Brandon Tabb is having himself another impressive season to end his time with the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. The native of Hampton, VA is the Wildcats’ team leader in scoring, averaging 17.4 points per contest. Add in his 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest, and it’s easy to see what Tabb means to the team on both ends of the floor. He makes his mark from three point range, as 161 of his 225 total field goal attempts have come from beyond the arc this season. Tabb is shooting 34.8% (56-of-161) from long distance, and has shot 50% or better in each of his last two outings. In those two games, Tabb is averaging 24 points, seven rebounds, and two assists per game. Against the Hatters, Tabb will look to continue his strong play on offense and guide the Wildcats to their fifth straight victory.
Stetson – Divine Myles
Like Tabb with the Wildcats, senior guard Divine Myles is ending his career on a high note with the Stetson Hatters. The 5’11” guard from Mobile, AL is having a career year, averaging 16.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. For the third year in a row, Myles is shooting better than 50% from the floor, hitting at a 52.8% clip through 17 games this season. Ever since he stepped on the court at Stetson as a freshman back in the 2014-15 season, Myles has stuffed the stat sheet. He has averaged at least 11.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 0.9 steals per game over his career, while never shooting below 40% from the field in a season. He has scored in double figures in all 17 games that he has played in, and has at least four assists in 11 of them, including his last four outings. Myles will look to add one more win over Bethune-Cookman to his career resume at Stetson on Monday.
The 2017-18 installment of the “US-92 Rivalry” could very well go either way.
On one hand, you have a Bethune-Cookman team who has won four straight games, sits atop the MEAC standings, and are one win away from matching their win total from the 2016-17 season. They have scored at least 86 points in each of their four wins on their current streak, and show no signs of slowing down.
On the flip side, you have a Stetson team that has had the number of the Wildcats in recent years in the rivalry. Add in the fact that the Hatters have won two straight games in 2017-18, and are 6-4 at home, and the case could be made for Monday’s hosts.
Playing on the road hasn’t been too kind to the Wildcats this season, as they are just 3-8 away from Daytona Beach, FL. If this game was being played inside Moore Gymnasium, the edge would undoubtedly go to Bethune-Cookman. But, it will be played inside the Edmunds Center, and most would give the edge to the Hatters.
With the way their offense has been clicking as of late, it’s tough to ignore the play of the Wildcats. In a game that could go either way, Bethune-Cookman will pick up a slim victory to extend their streak to five games.
Bethune-Cookman – 86
Stetson – 82
– T. Bennett