FORT MYERS, Fla., - The FGCU men’s basketball team nearly pulled a stunner on Saturday, falling 78-66 to #16 Butler. Butler shot 92.9 percent from the free-throw line including 10-of-10 in the last two minutes to hold off the Eagles. The Bulldogs improve to 11-1 while FGCU falls to 3-9 with the loss.
FGCU, which led for much of the first half, scored the first six points with Casey Wohlleb (Boca Raton, Fla.) having a hand in all six points. The Eagles increased their lead to 11-2 with 14:44 to play in the first half on a pair of free-throws by Adam Liddell (Auburn, Ind.). The Bulldogs were able to slice the lead to 19-18 on a lay-up by Drew Streicher before Delvin Franklin (Houston, Texas) drilled a three to give the Eagles a 22-18 lead with just over eight minutes to play. Butler knotted the score at 23 all on a three-point play by A.J. Graves at the 5:34 mark. The two teams would exchange the lead several times over the final five minutes and wound up even at 33 at the break.
The early part of the second half saw the teams exchange leads before Butler went on a 7-0 run to take a 49-41 lead with 15:22 remaining. FGCU answered with an 8-0 run of their own to even the score. Wohlleb drilled a pair of three’s during the run. With the Bulldogs clinging to a narrow 64-62 lead with 4:40 to play, they would go to the free-throw line 12 times, sinking all 12 to hold off the upset minded Eagles. The final score, 78-66, was the largest margin of the game. Free-throws proved to be the difference as each team went to the line 28 times with the Bulldogs knocking down 26 and Eagles hitting 17.
A.J. Graves led Butler with 17 points, going 9-for-9 from the charity stripe. Mike Green added 16 points and six assists while drilling 8-of-9 from the line. Julian Betko and Matt Howard added 12 apiece for Butler.
Casey Wohlleb scored a season-high 24 to lead all players. Delvin Franklin had a perfect night shooting, going 4-for-4 from the floor, knocking down two threes, and 2-for-2 from the line for 12 points. Terieke Barrowes (Pompano Beach, Fla.) and Adam Liddell added 10 points apiece. Rob Quaintance (Glendale, Az.) added five points and a season-high nine assists while playing all 40 minutes for the second time in the last three games.
The Eagles will be back in action again next Saturday when they host Penn on December 29 at 7:00 pm in Alico Arena. The game can be seen live on ASun.TV and tickets still remain by calling (239) 590-7145.