@FGCU_MBB Looks To Continue Hot Play, Takes Show On The Road To ETSU Thursday
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.415 (27-65)||.414 (29-70)|
|3P FG Percentage||.409 (9-22)||.400 (12-30)|
|FT Percentage||.643 (18-28)||.731 (19-26)|
JONES - 2
HARRIS - 3
FGCU (16-9, 10-2 A-Sun)
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Riding a four-game winning streak in which it has out-scored its opponents in that stretch by 80 points, the FGCU men’s basketball team (16-9, 10-2 Atlantic Sun Conference) looks to continue its hot play and take over sole possession of first place in the league standings when it tips off against ETSU (14-12, 7-6 A-Sun) Thursday night at 7 from the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
SETTING THE STAGE
FGCU has been in town since mid-day Tuesday, in advance of the winter weather now causing issues throughout the Southeast. As of Wednesday afternoon, Thursday’s game is still on as scheduled. Earlier on Wednesday, USC Upstate – ETSU’s travel partner – postponed Thursday’s game against Stetson until Monday. For the latest information, stay up-to-the-minute with the program by following on Twitter @FGCU_MBB.
With a win, FGCU will run its streak to a season-best five games as this is now the Eagles’ third different four-game winning streak of the campaign. A victory will also move the preseason league favorites temporarily into sole possession of first place as Mercer (19-6, 10-2 A-Sun) has already postponed its game on Thursday against Lipscomb until Friday evening.
TWEETABLES (5 Things To Know In 140 Characters Or Less)
• Filip Cvjeticanin (37 made 3’s) is eligible to play against ETSU after serving a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules.
• FGCU will be looking for its first win at ETSU (0-5) after beating the Bucs 90-62 earlier this year, its second-largest margin of victory this season.
• Brett Comer, a career 25-percent 3-point shooter entering the season, is 37 percent this year and 43 percent in A-Sun games, fourth-best in the league.
• Despite 17 assists and four turnovers from Comer in the last two games, Dajuan Graf leads FGCU in A-Sun assist/turnover ratio (36/15: 2.4).
• FGCU leads the A-Sun in defense (65.3 per game); the top-three teams in the standings rank 1, 2 and 3 in defense (Mercer, 67.2; USC Upstate (68.1).
1) While FGCU leads the A-Sun in scoring defense at 65.3, ETSU is the third-best offense in the league as it averages 75 points per game. The Eagles have held every single A-Sun opponent but one (Jacksonville, 76) to 75 points or fewer this year. In fact, Jacksonville and UNF are the only teams who have even scored 70 points in league action against FGCU.
2) In conference games, ETSU ranks ninth out of 10 teams in field-goal percentage at 42.3 percent. FGCU leads the league in field-goal percentage defense in A-Sun games, allowing opponents to connect at just a 38.3-percent clip from the field.
3) ETSU leads the A-Sun in free-throw shooting for the year at 73.9 percent while FGCU ranks ninth at 67.1 percent. However, in league games only, the Bucs still pace the conference at 77.2 percent, but the Eagles are one of only four teams above 70 percent (70.9), good for fourth in the rankings.
• ETSU, which is 10-5 at home, leads the all-time series with FGCU, 8-4, with all four Green and Blue victories coming at Alico Arena.
• ETSU is coming off a 75-63 home loss against USC Upstate which snapped a three-game winning streak.
• Bucs head coach Murry Bartow (UAB ‘85) is in his 11th season at ETSU and has a record of 203-146 during his tenure.
• ETSU has four players averaging double digits: Rashawn Rembert (15.9), A.J Merriweather (10.8), Jalen Riley (12.2) and Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (11.4).
• The Bucs, who lead the A-Sun in steals at 7.4 per game, are 9-0 when out-rebounding their opponent on the defensive glass and 9-2 when leading at halftime.
• In his last four games, Riley has scored a career-high 30 points, eclipsed double digits each time, is averaging 18 points a game and shooting 53 percent from the field, 56 percent from 3-point range and 92 percent at the charity stripe.
• ETSU – which has nine all-time NCAA Tournament appearances – won the A-Sun Championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
INSIDE THE STREAK
A closer look inside FGCU’s four-game winning streak; no other team in the A-Sun even has a three-game winning streak:
• FGCU hasn’t trailed in two of the games at all and is averaging 81.8 points per contest, including a 100-point showing against Jacksonville.
• Five different players are shooting at least 55 percent from the floor, including a blistering 85.7 percent (18-21) by Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy/Iowa State).
• The Eagles are shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range, and eight of the team’s 20 3’s in that stretch have come from Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS), who had only 18 made 3’s entering the game.
• FGCU is averaging 15.8 assists per game and 7.8 steals per game in the four-game run.
LAST TIME VS. ETSU
FGCU put on a show in the opening 12 minutes and flew to a 90-62 win over visiting ETSU in front of another Alico Arena capacity crowd.
Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) led FGCU with 21 points on his 21st birthday while McKnight finished one point shy of his then-career high with 14. Nate Hicks missed a double-double by two rebounds with 10 points and eight rebounds, and Cvjeticanin (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) narrowly missed his as well with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) became the program’s all-time leader in rebounding as he grabbed 10. The Eagles’ lone senior came into the contest needing only three boards to surpass Sherwood Brown’s record of 589.
The Eagles lived up to their Dunk City moniker, particularly in the first 10 minutes and 20 seconds of the night as they slammed home five dunks, including three alley-oops from Comer to McKnight. Those finishes helped FGCU run out to a 32-9 start after the first 12 minutes, and the Green and Blue never led by fewer than 18 the rest of the contest as they earned their 23rd win in the last 25 tries at The Nest.
McKnight is leading the A-Sun in field-goal percentage in conference games at a scorching 73.7 percent (42-57) – the only player in the league above 70 percent, nearly six percent better than his closest competition and one of only three who are connecting at better than a 55-percent clip.
FGCU is scheduled to take on third-place USC Upstate (15-11, 8-5 A-Sun) on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Eagles defeated the Spartans in the first meeting this year, 63-60.
All 2013-14 men’s basketball season tickets are selling quickly, and only a limited amount remain. Fans can reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets.
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