ALBANY, GA – Albany State hit six free throws in the final 22 seconds to pull out a 48-46 win over Florida Gulf Coast University in NCAA Division II South Region men’s basketball action Saturday night.
FGCU had rallied from an 11-point deficit midway through the final 20 mintues to lead by four points, 46-42, after a pair of free throws from sophomore Brendan Rooney with 39 seconds left. But FGCU was whistled for four fouls and had two turnovers down the stretch.
Albany State stretched a five-point halftime lead to 11 points at 36-25 with 11:16 remaining. But the Eagles reeled off a 16-3 run and took their first lead of the game at 41-39 when freshman guard Cecil Avant, playing his first game of the season, swished a pair of free throws with 3:44 left. Avant had six points and Casey Wohlleb during the Eagles rally.
After three consecutive free throws over two possessions put the Rams back on top 42-41, Avant hit a short jumper in the lane and followed by hitting 1-of-2 at the line on the next possession to put FGCU up by two points heading into the final minute.
Albany State led by as many as 15 points in the first half before FGCU rallied for a 10-0 run over the final 4:07 of the half to trail just 25-20 at the break.
The Eagles held the Rams to just 23.8% from the field and just 2-of-23 (8.7%) from 3-point territory. ASU, which entered the game as one of the top defensive teams in Division II, held FGCU to its lowest offensive output of the season and the second-fewest points in their 110-game history. The Eagles hit just 27.6% of its shots, including 4-of-14 from beyond the arc. The Rams held a 16-14 advantage at the line and a 51-44 edge in rebounding.
Avant and Wohlleb had 11 points apiece for the Eagles. Rooney added 10 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Adam Liddell had a team-high nine rebounds for FGCU. Travon McGruder was the only Rams player in double figures, scoring a game-high 15 points to go with a game-high 15 rebounds.
FGCU travels to West Georgia for a 7:30 tilt on Monday night.