FGCU Holds on For First-Ever Win at Jacksonville
|Florida Gulf Coast||37||28||65|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||JU|
|FG Percentage||.457 (21-46)||.306 (15-49)|
|3P FG Percentage||.417 (5-12)||.294 (5-17)|
|FT Percentage||.750 (18-24)||.714 (20-28)|
POWELL - 3
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Behind arguably its best 40-minute effort of the season on the defensive end, the FGCU men’s basketball team picked up its program Division I record 12th win with a hard-fought 65-55 Atlantic Sun victory at Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Eagles (12-11) held the Dolphins to under 31 percent shooting in each half, while coming away with a season-high 15 steals to improve to 7-5 in the A-Sun, good for sole possession of fourth place. The win was also the Green and Blue’s first ever at Veterans Memorial and their program-best fourth (4-2) A-Sun road victory of the year.
“I’m really proud of our guys. They played hard for the entire game and that’s what it takes to beat a team as physical and athletic as Jacksonville,” said first-year head coach Andy Enfield. “We weren’t as sharp offensively as we would have liked to be, but I thought we made up for that by being very opportunistic with our steals. It always feels good to get a road win.”
FGCU’s 22 points off 21 Jacksonville turnovers were coupled with a 30.6 percent (15-49) clip from the field for the Dolphins, who fell to 4-19 and 2-10 in the A-Sun. On the flipside, the Eagles shot a respectable 46 percent (21-46) and knocked down 18-of-24 free throws.
Playing in front of his family who made the commute from Georgia, freshman Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) led the Eagles with 19 points on 7-of-10 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Thompson has 17 double figure outings to his credit this season and has led the team in scoring eight times.
Sophomore Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) contributed 12 points off the pine, marking the 19th time this season the bench has supplied a double figure scorer. Reigning A-Sun Player of the Week Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) had a hard-earned 10 points and team-high seven rebounds, and has now led the team on the boards in four consecutive contests.
Jacksonville was led by Aloys Cabell’s 13 points, as it was held to just one double figure scorer for the second time this season. The ultra-athletic frontcourt duo of Glenn Powell and Delwan Graham combined for just seven points, which is 14 below their season average.
A frantic and poorly played opening 11 minutes featured 10 lead changes until a three-pointer in transition by Varidel gave FGCU a four-point edge, 18-14, at the 8:46 mark.
Oddly enough, the final 29 minutes of the game didn’t feature a lead change, as the Eagles began creating some separation late in the first half with a quick 6-0 run that took it from a 25-23 game to a 31-23 lead for the visitors with 2:33 to play.
FGCU’s lead reached double figures in the final minutes of the first half, but it settled for a 37-29 edge at the break behind 11 points from Thompson. The Eagles shot 52 percent (13-25) over the opening 20 minutes to claim their 14th halftime lead of the season (10-4).
FGCU took control of the game over the opening three and half minutes of the second half, scoring the first seven points of the frame to take its largest lead (15), 44-29, on a three-pointer from sophomore Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS).
JU refused to go away though, cutting the deficit to 55-50 with 3:33 remaining, but the Eagles limited the Dolphins to just two field goals and a free throw over the final stretch to come away with its fourth road win in its last five attempts.
FGCU will continue its stay in the city of Jacksonville until Monday night when it takes on North Florida at 7 p.m.
FGCU has won three straight against JU after losing the first seven meetings … FGCU’s seven A-Sun wins equals its most set in 2008-09 and 2010-11 … JU is the second A-Sun team that the Eagles have swept the season series from this year … FGCU is 7-3 over its last 10 games … Thompson’s 19 points marked the 14th time this season a freshman has led FGCU in scoring … at least one freshman has scored in double figures in 20 of 23 games this season … Thompson recorded his 18th multi-steal game of the year … freshman Brett Comer had four steals for the second straight game … Comer has led the team in assists in all but one game … freshman Filip Cvjeticanin has made a three in 15 of the last 16 games.
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