FGCU Returns From Break to Host FIU
Thursday, December 13, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson (@Pierson_SID)
FIU (3-4)
Florida Gulf Coast (7-4)
12/13/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. - Alico Arena | Attendance: 1803
Florida Gulf Coast433376
Stats at a GlanceFIUFGCU
FG Percentage.417 (25-60) .556 (30-54)
3P FG Percentage.345 (10-29) .250 (4-16)
FT Percentage.565 (13-23) .522 (12-23)
Offensive Rebounds1411
Defensive Rebounds2023
Total Rebounds3434
Bench Points2021
Statistical LeadersFIUFGCU
PointsBelardo - 17
ReboundsFrink - 10
AssistsBelardo - 7
StealsMurphy - 2
BlocksAkomolafe - 1



FGCU (6-4) VS. FIU (3-3)
Coaching Matchup: Andy Enfield (21-21; 2nd Season) vs. Richard Pitino (3-3; 1st Season)
Date: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Time: 7:05 P.M. EST
City: Fort Myers, Fla.
Site: Alico Arena (4,500)
Live Video & Audio: FGCUATHLETICS.com
Talent: David Moulton (P-B-P) & J. Webb Horton (Analyst)
Twitter: @FGCU_MBB/@FIUMensBBall
Twitter Hashtags: #FGCUvsFIU/#WeAreFGCU/#ASUNMBB/#FGCU
Current Streak: L1
At Home: 5-0
Vs. FIU: 2-2
Vs. Sun Belt: 3-2
Up Next: vs. Southeastern - Dec. 18

Off to its best 10-game start in Division I program history, FGCU will return from an eight-day break from game action on Thursday when it hosts in-state rival FIU at Alico Arena. Currently just outside the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll with 44 votes, the Eagles are 5-0 at home this season. The meeting between FGCU and FIU will be the first since 2009 when the Eagles prevailed 81-64. The Green and Blue are 2-0 all-time against the Panthers since entering Division I.

#0 Brett Comer (G)
• Second in the A-Sun & 49th nationally in assists per game (5.4)
• Scored in double figures in last two games
• Has a steal in 14 straight games dating back to last season
#2 Bernard Thompson (G)
• Second in the nation in total steals (32) and 8th in steals per (3.2)
• Ranks 6th in the A-Sun in scoring (15.1)
• Team-high four 20-point games - all on the road
#25 Sherwood Brown (G)
• Leads the team with nine double figure games - 5 straight
• FGCU is 4-0 when he leads in scoring
• 13-of-26 from three-point land in last five games
#20 Chase Fieler (F)
• Coming off career-high 18 points at Iowa State - 15 in second half
• Team leader with 19 dunks out of 37 made field goals
• Averaging 12.2 points and 6.0 rebounds last six contests
#12 Eric McKnight (F)
• A-Sun leader in blocks (16); has a rejection in nine of 10 games
• Has an offensive rebound in nine straight games; leader with 21
• Shooting 53 percent from the field; hit 9 of last 11 at FT line

Outlet (Date) - RPI (SOS)
Real Time (12/10) - 53 (36)
ESPN Insider (12/11) - 60 (34)
CBS Sports (12/10) - 52 (37)
Rivals (12/9) - 46 (32)
StatSheet (12/9) - 48 (30)
CollegeHoopsNet.com (12/10) - 48 (30)
WarrenNolan.com (12/10) - 52 (37)
Dolphin (12/9) - 41 (--)
Sagarin (12/9) - 109 (26)
Massey (12/9) - 109 (58)
Pomeroy (12/9) - 103 (28)

With an RPI as low as 41 and an A-Sun-leading six wins, including ACC foe Miami’s lone loss, FGCU was predicted as the No. 13 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament by ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi in his Dec. 11th Bracketology.

Out of the 13 Division I schools in the state of Florida, the Eagles (6-4) are just behind No. 5 Florida for the most victories in the state.

(Records as of 12/10)
Florida: 7-0
FGCU: 6-4
Miami: 5-1
USF: 5-3
Florida State: 5-4
FAU: 5-4
Seven schools: Four wins or fewer

FIU enters Thursday’s contest with a 3-3 record, winning three of its last four contests, and coming off an 82-79 win at A-Sun member Stetson on Dec. 9. Led by first-year head coach Richard Pitino, who is the son of legendary Louisville men’s basketball head coach Rick Pitino, the Panthers were tabbed to finish ninth in the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. FIU returns zero starters from a team that went 8-21 last season. FIU currently leads the Sun Belt, averaging 74.5 point per game this season.

The Panthers are led by a pair of junior college transfers in guard Malik Smith and forward Tymell Murphy. Smith leads the team in scoring at 17.3 points per game, which ranks him third in the Sun Belt, and he also leads FIU in three-point shooting draining just under four treys a game. Murphy is second on the team in points (13.8) and rebounding (6.0).

Thursday’s matchup will feature two of the nation’s top teams in terms of stealing the basketball. In the latest ESPN Statistical Rankings that came out on Dec. 10, FGCU is 29th in the nation averaging 9.7 steals per game, while FIU ranks 34th in the NCAA averaging 9.5 thefts a contest.

Senior SHERWOOD BROWN and sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON give FGCU one of the top backcourts in the Atlantic Sun and the second-best scoring tandem in the conference. The duo is averaging a combined 30.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
• One of two combos in the A-Sun to both rank in the top 10 in scoring ... Thompson ranks sixth (15.1), while Brown is seventh (14.9).
• Both reached the 20-point plateau at Samford, combining for 43 points, including 26 in the second half.
• The duo has reached double figures in same game eight times with FGCU going 4-4.
• Brown or Thompson has led the team in scoring in seven of the 10 games and have been the top two scorers on six occasions.
• Combine to score an average of 17.9 of the team’s 37.4 points in the second half.

A-Sun Top Scoring Tandems
Craig/Rodgers (USC Upstate) - 30.4 ppg
Thompson/Brown (FGCU) - 30.0 ppg
Pegg/Graham (Stetson) - 28.5 ppg
Cummings/Love (Kennesaw St.) - 28.5 ppg
Smith/Wallace (UNF) - 27.7 pgg

Sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON registered 57 steals as a freshman in 2011-12 - good for third in the A-Sun and fifth-best in program single-season history - and is already more than halfway to that total this year.
• Leads the A-Sun and ranks eighth in the nation at 3.2 steals.
• Third in the nation in total steals with 32
• Had a career-high of five steals at No. 9 Duke, vs. Toledo and vs. Loyola-MD.
• Current streak of 10 games with a steal, including five straight with at least two.
• Has a steal in 38 of 42 career games, including 29 multi-steal performances.
• Just 11 steals shy of 100 in 42 career games ... Brian Crislip (2002/03) got to 100 steals in 39 games, while Rob Quintance accomplished the feat in 41 contests.

A CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major All-American a year ago, sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON has a quartet of 20-point games on the road this season and was named the A-Sun Player of the Week on November 20.
• Team’s leading scorer (15.1) and rebounder (5.3), marks that rank 6th and 13th in the A-Sun, respectively.
• Thompson is averaging 20.0 points per game in four road games with 24 points at No. 9 Duke, 21 points at VCU, 21 points at Samford and 20 points at St. John’s.
• Highlighted by a career-high six three-pointers at No. 9 Duke, - tied for the most threes in the A-Sun this season - he ranks 5th in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.415) and 9th in threes per game (1.7).
• Averaging 9.4 points in the second half that is boosted by 15 points in the final 20 minutes at No. 9 Duke and at VCU, 14 at St. John’s and two other double-digit performances.

FGCU is 5-0 at Alico Arena this season and 14-5 all-time at home under second-year head coach Andy Enfield.
• Out-scoring opponents by 13.4 points per game and limiting the opposition to 53.8 points per contest.
• Forcing 18.6 turnovers per game, leading to 11.0 steals.
• Dominating inside, out-scoring opponents 183-90 in the paint, good for a 18.6 per game difference.
• Defeated ACC foe Miami in the home opener, limiting the Canes to just 29 percent (16-55) shooting.

Over the last five games, junior CHASE FIELER has been FGCU’s top rebounder (6.0) and third-leading scorer at 12.2 points per contest.
• Scored a career-high 18 points, including 15 in the second half, at Iowa State.
• Reached double figures in a career long four straight games and six times this season.
• Third on the team in scoring (9.4) and third on the club and 15th in the A-Sun in rebounding (5.0).
• Named to the Battle 4 Atlantis All-Tournament team.
• Team leader with 19 dunks.
• Has led the team in rebounding two times.

Redshirt sophomore ERIC MCKNIGHT sat out the 2011-12 after transferring to FGCU from Iowa State and is off to a strong start in the Green and Blue. The 6-foot-9 bouncy forward with a 7-foot-2 wingspan has started all 10 games.
• Fourth on the team in scoring (7.4) and second in rebounding (5.2), a figure that ranks 14th in the A-Sun.
• Leads the A-Sun in blocks (16) and blocks per game (1.6).
• Team leader with 21 offensive rebounds, good for 9th in the A-Sun at 2.1 per game.
• Shooting 53 percent, highlighted by 11 dunks.
• Produced game-highs of 14 points and eight rebounds in the win over Miami.
• Scored a season-high 15 points against Toledo with seven boards and three blocks.

One of two players to rank in the A-Sun’s top 10 in scoring and rebounding in 2011-12, senior SHERWOOD BROWN has twice been named the A-Sun Player of the Week by College Sports Madness an once by the league office. He was also named the MVP of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament hosted by FGCU after a 22-point night against Toledo in the title game.
• Second on the team and ranks 7th in the A-Sun in scoring at 14.9 points per game, led by a pair of 20-point nights.
• Ranks 20th in rebounding (4.7), tied for 6th in steals (1.5) and 5th in minutes (31.7).
• Has reached double figures a team-best nine times
• FGCU is 4-0 when Brown leads in scoring.
• Highlighted by 17 points against Toledo and 14 at Samford, Brown averages 8.5 points in the second half.

Known for its up-tempo style on offense, FGCU is starting show the traits of some of the teams coach ANDY ENFIELD was a member of at Florida State when it became the first team since the 1990-92 Georgetown clubs to lead the NCAA in field goal percentage defense in back-to-back years.
• FGCU ranks 2nd in the A-Sun in field goal percentage defense (.418), 2nd in three-point percentage defense (.279) and third in scoring defense (66.1).
• The Eagles are 29th in the nation and lead the A-Sun with 9.7 steals per game and rank third in blocks (3.6).
• Total of 25 steals in the last two games.
• Forcing a conference third-best 17.0 turnovers per game, including 15+ turnovers seven times (4-3).
• Allowed 54 points or less in four of six wins.
• Out-rebounding opponents by +1.2 per game - second-best margin in the A-Sun.

Senior SHERWOOD BROWN became the second straight Eagle to win the A-Sun Player of the Week on Nov. 27. Brown’s A-Sun Player of the Week honor follows sophomore Bernard Thompson’s on Nov. 20. Brown has also been the College Sports Madness’ A-Sun Player of the Week two times.

Sophomore BRETT COMER and freshman DAJUAN GRAF give FGCU a solid 1-2 option at the point position. Comer is looking to defend his league assist crown from his freshman campaign.
• Duo is averaging a combined 7.4 assists per game.
• Comer, a 2011-12 A-Sun All-Freshmen team choice, ranks 2nd in the A-Sun with 5.4 assists per game.
• Comer had arguably the best game of his career against Miami with six points, seven rebounds, eight assists and no turnovers.
• Comer recorded his fifth career double-digit assist game at Samford.
• Graf has just 13 turnovers in 10 games.

FGCU is armed with a long and athletic lineup that has been aggressive at the rim and in the paint this season. The Eagles are averaging 33.1 points in the paint this season, including 44 dunks.

Player - Dunks
Chase Fieler - 19
Eric McKnight - 11
Sherwood Brown - 5
Eddie Murray - 4
Leonard Livingston - 3
Bernard Thompson - 2

• FGCU has reached the 40-point plateau in points in the paint in two games - Miami and Toledo
• Been held below 30 points in the paint just one time.
• Eagles had a season-high eight dunks against Toledo.