Defense Propels Eagles Past Campbell, 47-39
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men's basketball team overcame a slow offensive start with a solid defense effort in the second half to comeback and earn a 47-39 Atlantic Sun win over Campbell on Saturday at Alico Arena.
Trailing 18-13 at the half, the Eagles responded by holding the Camels to just 19 percent (6-32) shooting in the final frame en route to earning their third-ever season sweep of a conference opponent. The Blue and Green defeated Campbell, 68-66, on Jan. 20 in Buies Creek, N.C.
With the win, FGCU improves to 7-19 on the season, including 4-12 in the A-Sun. The loss is the sixth in seven games for Campbell, who drops to 12-16 overall and 6-12 in the league.
The 47 points matched a season-low for the Eagles, but they overcame making just 10 field goals (10-41) by knocking down 25-of-35 from the free throw line, including 18 in a row. Freshman Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South) made all nine from the stripe to finish with 11 points.
Redshirt sophomore Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla./Santaluces HS) led the way with a game-high 14 points and nine rebounds. Banks sank all six of his free throws while also adding four offensive rebounds to bring his season total to 95, just five away from his second straight 100+ offensive carom season.
Led by Banks’ relentlessness on the offensive glass, the Eagles grabbed 15 rebounds off their missed shots resulting in a 44-33 edge on the boards. Junior Marlon Rivera (Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico/Sagemont HS/Santa Fe CC) corralled 10 rebounds, including nine defensive, to go along with his nine points. After establishing a career-high for rebounds last Western Kentucky, sophomore Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) set a new high with nine caroms and eight points in his first start of the season.
Reigning A-Sun Newcomer of the Week Eric Griffin turned in his fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds, but was the only Campbell player to reach double figures. The Camels followed their 18-point first half with 21 in the second half on 6-of-32 from the field. For the game, Campbell shot 26 percent (14-53).
A less than sparkling first half resulted in an 18-13 lead for Campbell, as Junard Hartley hit a running three-pointer as time expired to give the visitors a five-point edge at the break.
The offensive woes lingered around the Eagles until the 12:11 mark in the second half when they started a 10-0 run to take their first lead since the opening five minutes of the game, at 32-26 (9:54).
With its offensive coming alive, FGCU clamped down on the defensive end, holding Campbell nearly 10 minutes without a made field goal. Six free throws by the Camels during the drought kept the Blue and Green’s lead under double-digits until a 7-0 run with under three minutes to play gave FGCU the largest lead of the game, 47-34, and eventually the win.
FGCU will stay at the friendly confines of Alico Arena where it has won its last two games for its next contest against in-state rival and fellow A-Sun member Stetson. Gametime on Monday is slated for 7:30 p.m. or 30 minutes after the women’s game which begins at 5:15 p.m.
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