FORT MYERS, Fla. - Reed Baker's 23 points led the Eagles to their first win ever against Stetson University. The Eagles had lost each of the first three games played between the two schools, including a heartbreaking loss earlier this season that saw the Hatters score the game's final 18 points. With Baker's 23 points, Reed has now eclipsed the 20-point mark in four straight games.
The Hatters jumped out to an early 8-0 lead after back-to-back three's from Garfield Blair and A.J. Smith. The Eagles would slowly chip away at the lead, eventually taking their first lead of the game after a 3-pointer from Reggie Chambers made it 13-12 with 9:09 to play in the first half. After a Sheldon Oliver lay-up momentarily gave the lead back to Stetson, a 3-pointer from Delvin Franklin quickly gave the Eagles back the lead, which they would not relinquish for the remainder of the first half. FGCU ended the half on a little 4-0 run, with Reed Baker accounting for all four points, to take a 29-23 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, FGCU got started early building on their 6-point halftime lead. After a Kyle Marks jumper with 17:29 remaining, the Eagles held a 39-25 advantage. FGCU continued to add on to the lead, extending it to as much as 22 points, holding a 54-32 lead with 12:44 to play. The Hatters would mount a bit of a comeback, pulling to within 10 points with 1:40 to play, and even getting as close as 8 points with 1:19 to play. But, unlike their previous meeting in DeLand earlier this season, the Eagles were able to handle the Stetson press as well as hit clutch free throws down the stretch, as they were able to hang on for an 85-76 victory.
For the Hatters (6-7, 3-2), Garfield Blair led all scorers with 26 points, as well as pulling down a team-high 8 rebounds. A.J. Smith added 17 points and 6 rebounds, and Sheldon Oliver tallied 10 points and 5 rebounds.
For the Eagles (6-10, 2-3), Reed Baker scored a team-high 23 points, shooting 6-12 from the field and 9-12 from the free throw line. Delvin Franklin added 19 points, and Kyle Marks scored 17 points and registered a game-high 3 blocked shots. Addison Smith recorded a game-high 10 rebounds as well as a game-high 6 assists.
The Eagles will be back in action on Saturday afternoon as part of another A-Sun basketball doubleheader at Alico Arena. The men will take the floor first at 2:00 PM against USC Upstate, and that game will be immediately followed by the FGCU women against USC Upstate at approximately 4:15 PM.