Eagles Outlast Bruins, 85-80
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball snapped a 7-game losing streak Saturday with an 85-80 victory over Belmont at Alico Arena. Freshman Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla.) came off the bench and scored a career-high 16 points, including eight in the final four minutes to lead the Eagles (8-20, 5-14) to the victory.
Junior Reed Baker (Naples, Fla.) also scored 16 points as the Eagles swept the season series from Belmont (17-11, 12-6).
“I feel really good for our kids,” FGCU coach Dave Balza said. “Sherwood Brown stepped up big tonight.”
Brown and sophomore Reggie Chambers (Miramar, Fla.) each scored eight points after the last media timeout as FGCU held off a furious run by Belmont.
The teams were tied at 65 with 3:40 to play before FGCU went on a 6-0 run to take a 71-65 lead. The Bruins fought back and eventually trimmed that lead to one with less than 30 seconds to play only to see Brown and Chambers each knock down a pair of free throws to seal their fate.
Chambers was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line down the stretch while the Eagles as a team were 12-for-12 from the line in the final four minutes. FGCU shot 82 percent (23-for-28) for the game from the free throw line while Belmont shot 63 percent (19-for-30).
The Eagles committed just 10 turnovers compared to Belmont’s 13. FGCU did not turn the ball over once in the final four minutes despite the Bruins turning up the heat with an active full court press.
The Eagles trailed 38-32 at halftime but outscored the Bruins 53-42 in the final 20 minutes of the game. Baker scored 12 of his 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the opening frame as Brown stepped it up in the second half and scored 11 of his 16 points.
FGCU opened the second half on an 8-0 run highlighted by three layups by senior Derrick O’Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.). The teams battled back and forth with the lead changing seven times before FGCU took a lead it would never rescind after freshman Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) made a layup with 8:28 to play in the second half. Banks finished with 11 points and five rebounds before fouling out with 41 seconds to play.
Chambers was the other Eagle in double figures as he finished with 12 points. O’Neil finished with nine points and a team-high eight rebounds for the Eagles.
Ian Clark led a balanced Belmont scoring attack with 11 points.
The Eagles are back in action next Thursday when they take on USC Upstate at Alico Arena at 7:05 p.m. FGCU beat Upstate 86-82 on December 14 in South Carolina.
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