FGCU falls at Jacksonville, 71-56
Banks records third double-double of the season
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU men’s basketball team battled back from a slow start, but couldn’t hold on as Jacksonville used its athleticism and full court pressure to defeat the Eagles, 71-56, in an Atlantic Sun tilt Saturday afternoon at Veteran Memorial Arena.
The Dolphins never let FGCU get into an offensive rhythm, limiting the Eagles to a 29 percent (17-59) shooting clip from the field while forcing the visitors into 20 turnovers.
“It’s tough to win on the road in conference play when we don’t shoot the ball very well,” said head coach Dave Balza. “I was pleased with the way some of our young guys stepped up in the absence of forward Tim Snyder and fought through a slow start. We’ll take some positives out of this game and use the next 11 days to get back to full strength.”
With the loss, FGCU drops to 2-6 on the season and 0-2 in the A-Sun. Jacksonville (6-1) has now won six games in a row and is 2-0 in the league.
Redshirt sophomore Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla./Santaluces HS) continued his strong play with 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds for his third double-double of the year. Banks’ game-high 14 rebounds featured seven on the offensive end, giving the 6-foot-6 forward 21 offensive caroms over the last three contests.
JU was led by senior Ayron Hardy who also posted a double-double of his own with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Dolphins received a huge boost from their bench, as Travis Cohn’s 16 points and Delwan Graham’s 14 points helped Jacksonville out-score FGCU 32-14 off the bench.
Led by Banks, the Eagles somewhat made up for their 29 percent shooting night by grabbing 15 offensive rebounds, marking the 34th time in the last 37 games they have totaled double-digit offensive boards. Over the last three games, FGCU has 50 offensive rebounds.
Despite the Blue and Green’s effort on the offensive glass, Jacksonville came away with a slight 46-42 edge on the boards. JU shot 42 percent (26-62) for the game and was also plagued by turnovers with 19.
JU took control of the game right from the tip, taking an 18-2 lead by the 11:14 mark and forcing Balza to call three 30-second timeouts along the way. The Dolphins’ full court pressure gave the Eagles fits, forcing the Blue and Green into six turnovers during the run.
FGCU then used some solid defense of its own to climb back into the game, scoring 10 straight points to ignite a 19-3 run that absorbed over five minutes and resulted in the first tie, 21-21, of the game with 5:04 to play. Five players scored for FGCU during the run, including five from freshman Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W.Va./Parkersburg South) on a three-pointer and a dunk.
Despite scoring just seven points over a 10-minute span in the half, the Dolphins took the lead into the locker room by scoring the final five points of the frame for a 30-24 advantage. In a sloppy opening half, the two teams combined for 22 turnovers and made just 19-of-62 from the field.
The game remained a two-possession difference for most of the opening 10 minutes of the second half before Jacksonville took a 43-38 edge and turned it into a 52-40 lead by the 7:38 mark. JU never relinquished its double-digit lead the rest of the game.
Junior Marlon Rivera (Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico/Sagemont HS/Santa Fe CC) was the only other Eagle in double figures with 10 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals. Senior Reed Baker (Naples, Fla./Bishop Verot HS/Michigan), who came in as the A-Sun’s second leading scorer (19.2), was limited to nine points, while redshirt junior Ed Rolax (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg Catholic HS) provided a spark off the bench with six rebounds.
FGCU will now have 11 days off from game action due to finals week. The Eagles will return to action with a two-game road swing to Ohio where they will take on current No. 2 Ohio State on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. The game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.
JU has taken all seven meetings against FGCU since 2007-08 … FGCU has 50 offensive rebounds in its last three games and entered the night as the league’s top team on the offensive glass … Anthony Banks has reached double digits in six of seven games … Banks’ double-double was the eighth of his career … Banks has 31 offensive rebounds through seven games, including five or more in a game five times … Reed Baker’s nine points marked the first time this season he has failed to reach double figures … Marlon Rivera has a steal in all seven games … Rivera has totaled five rebounds and five assists in the same game three times this year … junior forward Tim Snyder missed the game after suffering a concussion on Thursday night … Snyder started the first six games of the year.
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