FGCU Comeback Falls Short at TCU, 73-72
|Florida Gulf Coast||31||41||72|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||TC|
|FG Percentage||.614 (27-44)||.491 (27-55)|
|3P FG Percentage||.429 (6-14)||.222 (4-18)|
|FT Percentage||.632 (12-19)||.714 (15-21)|
CANTINOL - 6
BUTLER - 2
FORT WORTH, Texas – Despite trailing by as many as 16 early in the second half, the FGCU men’s basketball team fought all the way back and had several chances to take the lead in the final seconds, but came up short in a 73-72 season-opening loss at TCU on Friday night at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
FGCU trailed 71-69 with the ball and just under two minutes to play, but a trio of three-point attempts by junior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) and sophomore Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Prep) just missed and TCU retained possession with 49 seconds left.
With the shot clock winding down, TCU’s Hank Thorn worked his way into the lane and got off a layup as the buzzer sounded to give the Frogs a four-point edge, 73-69, with just 12 seconds remaining.
Freshman point Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) quickly pushed the ball up the court and executed a dribble-handoff to Brown, who knocked down a three with 4.8 seconds on the clock to make it a one-point game, at 73-72.
FGCU quickly fouled Thorn on the ensuing inbound pass after a timeout to put the All-Mountain West point guard at the foul line. Thorns’ front end of the 1-and-1 missed to the right and the rebound was tipped into the corner where FGCU failed to get off a desperation shot.
“I’m proud of the way our guys battled back to give us a chance at the end,” said first-year head coach Andy Enfield. “We didn’t handle their pressure in the first half very well, but I thought we did a much better job down the stretch. We can take a lot of positives from this game into our home opener Monday night, but we’ve got to make sure we learn from our mistakes.”
Three different players reached double figures for the Eagles, led by freshman Bernard Thompson’s (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) 15 points off the bench. Thompson poured in 11 of his 15 in the first half, while adding six rebounds and four assists.
The catalyst of the second half comeback, Comer had a hand in 24 of FGCU’s 41 points in the final frame. Comer finished the game with 12 points and five assists with all but two of the points coming over the final 20 minutes. Sophomore Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) turned in a clean stat line with 12 points on 4-of-4 from the field, including 3-for-3 from long range, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Four of TCU’s five starters reached double-digits, as senior J.R. Cadot supplied game-highs of 16 points and seven rebounds. The Horned Frogs shot just a shade under 50 percent (27-55) thanks to making just 4-of-18 from long range.
On the flipside, FGCU shot a torrid 61 percent (27-44) from the field and won the battle on the boards by a 30-24 margin, but was undone by 29 turnovers that led to a 30-18 edge in points off giveaways for the Horned Frogs.
The Eagles committed 27 turnovers over the first 33 minutes of the game, helping the Horned Frogs build a 65-52 lead with 6:57 to play.
The final seven minutes featured a completely different FGCU side, as the visitors out-scored TCU 20-7 down the stretch to force the dramatic finish. Six different players scored during the late push for the Green and Blue, led by five points each from Brown and Fieler. Comer converted an old-fashioned three-point play that brought the Eagles within two, 72-69, and also passed out three assists.
FGCU’s 61.4 percent shooting clip was the second-best single-game total in program history, as nine of the 10 players who saw time recorded a field goal. Senior Kevin Cantinol (Clearwater, Fla./Calvary Christian HS/Ole Miss) finished with seven points and six boards over 31 minutes. Brown and Varidel each chipped with seven points apiece.
FGCU will open its home slate at Alico Arena on Monday, Nov. 14, against nearby Division II foe Ave Maria. Gametime is slated for 7:05 p.m.
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