MACON, Ga., The FGCU Men’s Basketball team raced to a 17 point lead and saw Mercer cut the lead to one on several occasions, and pull away for a 76-74 win in overtime. With the loss, the Eagles fall to 9-17 overall and 5-7 in A-Sun play while Mercer improves to 11-14 and evens their A-Sun record at 6-6.
Mercer got on the board first with a pair of layups before a 15-3 FGCU run gave the Eagles the lead for good. Terieke Barrowes (Pompano Beach, Fla.) scored four points and Casey Wohlleb (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Delvin Franklin (Houston, Texas) each drilled a three in the run to put FGCU up 15-7. Three more triples by Kyle Matheny (Winter Park, Fla.) extended FGCU’s lead to 28-11 with 7:43 to play in the half.
From that point, the Bears began to slowly cut into the lead trimming the deficit to 31-18 with 5:33 to play. After a jumper by Franklin, the Bears went on a 9-0 run to cut FGCU’s lead to 33-27 with 2:30. Each team hit a three over the final 2:30 to leave the Eagles with a 36-30 lead at the break.
The Bears scored the first five points of the half, prompting an FGCU timeout. FGCU answered with an 8-0 run of their own highlighted by a pair of old fashioned three point plays by Yavney Neptune (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and Barrowes to take a 44-35 lead. The Bears would continue to cut into FGCU’s lead, trimming it to a single point on several occasions but never claiming the lead in regulation. FGCU would go to overtime for the first time since late in the 2005 season, a span of 92 games.
The Bears scored the first five points of the overtime session and was able to hold off the Eagles. A pair of missed free-throws by Mercer down the stretch allowed FGCU one last opportunity to win or send the game to a second overtime. However, a desperation shot by the Eagles would fall short as the Bears pulled out the 76-74 win.
James Florence, who scored 31 in the first meeting between the two, added 29 in the second meeting, doing most of his damage from the free-throw line, going 14-of-17 from the stripe. Calvin Henry added a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. Shaddean Aaron was the only other Bear in double figures with 13 points.
Casey Wohlleb led the Eagles with 24 points while grabbing 10 boards for his first double-double of the season. Landon Adler added 11 points while pulling down five boards. Terieke Barrowes added 11 for FGCU while Kyle Matheny added a career-high nine off the bench.
The Eagles will be in action again on Saturday when they travel to Kennesaw, Ga., to face Kennesaw State in a double-header. The FGCU women’s team takes on the Owls prior to the men’s game.