Trailing 36-34 at the break, Stetson took the lead on a Grant Lozoya layup during an 8-0 run that put the Hatters up 56-50 with 8:47 to go and continued to pull away down the stretch.
Divine Myles added 12 points, B.J. Glasford had 11 and Angel Rivera 10 for Stetson, which hadn't won a season opener since the 2011 season. The Hatters dominated the boards with 51 rebounds to the Tigers' 27. Ten of Stetson's rebounds were by Kentwan Smith.
Edward Waters, a NAIA school, was led by Dontay Sheppard, who scored 17 points on 8-for-8 shooting, while Charles-Eddie Smith added 16 and Darion Green had 10.