Defense Fuels @FGCU_MBB to 67-49 Win Over Kennesaw State in Regular Season Finale
|Stats at a Glance||KSU||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.250 (14-56)||.440 (22-50)|
|3P FG Percentage||.222 (4-18)||.235 (4-17)|
|FT Percentage||.630 (17-27)||.559 (19-34)|
Second-seeded Eagles to face seventh-seeded UNF in A-Sun Quarterfinals
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Although five players finished in double figures, it was FGCU’s play on the defensive end that helped the Green and Blue closeout Atlantic Sun regular season play with a 67-49 over visiting Kennesaw State in front of 2,574 fans at Alico Arena.
The Eagles will enter next week’s A-Sun Tournament in Macon, Ga. as the No. 2 seed after putting together a 21-10 regular season mark, including 13-5 in league action. FGCU, who finished a game back of regular season champ and tournament host Mercer (21-10, 14-4), will play the No. 7 seed UNF on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
For the second straight game and the eighth time in A-Sun action (8-0), FGCU held an opponent below 60 points, as the Owls had less made field goals (14) than turnovers (18). Kennesaw State shot 25 percent (14-56) from the field, including 4-of-18 from three, while its 18 points directly resulted in 19 FGCU points. It marked the third time this season the Eagles have held an opponent to less field goals than its amount of turnovers.
“Our goal coming into the season was 20 wins and to win 21 before postseason is a great accomplishment for our players,” said head coach Andy Enfield. “Our other goal was to compete for the league championship in the regular season and it came down to the last day between us and Mercer. We have accomplished some of our goals so far, but we still have a lot to achieve going into the conference tournament.”
Playing in their final regular season game at home, seniors Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) and Eddie Murray (North Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) were honored before the game and led the Eagles to their 15th home win of the season, equaling the best total by A-Sun school over the last five years. Brown’s 10 points were the 56th double figure game of his career, while Murray hauled down a season-high nine boards and moved into fourth place in the program record books for career blocks (57).
Offensively, junior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) led five players in double figures with 13 points, highlighted by nine in the second half that included a pair of dunks to give him 50 jams on the year. Sophomore Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) was one of three players with 11 points and added three steals to move into move into seventh in A-Sun single-season history with 88.
Led by junior Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) and freshman Dajuan Graf (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O. Berry Academy), FGCU finished with a 26-2 edge in bench points. Varidel knocked down a pair of triples en route to 11 points and four rebounds, while Graf’s season-best 11 points came on 4-of-5 from the field.
FGCU trailed for a total of 2:43 in the game, all of which came in the first half, as it extended its lead to 34-24 by the break. It marked the 17th straight game that the Eagles haven’t trailed at the half, and the 14th time in A-Sun action the Green and Blue have led by double figures in a game.
The Eagles limited the A-Sun’s second-leading scorer Markeith Cummings to nine points while he committed five turnovers. Sophomore Delbert Love scored a team-high 18 points, while senior Aaron Anderson grabbed a staggering 22 rebounds, which is the highest total by an A-Sun player this season.
FGCU Athletics is offering ticket packages for the conference tournament at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. Fans can get ticket booklets that include admission into every game of the men’s and women’s tournament (14 games) for $20 (children ages 6-11), $50 (seniors 62 and older and students ages 12-22) or $75 (adults). All tickets are general admission. Tickets can be purchased by calling the FGCU ticket office Monday-Friday, between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 239-590-7145, in person at the Alico Arena ticket office or by ordering online at www.fgcuathletics.com/tickets.
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