Zeke vs. Azul: FGCU Hosts FIU on Saturday Night
Thursday, December 10, 2009
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FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team will play host to Isiah Thomas and his FIU Golden Panthers at Alico Arena on Saturday, Dec. 12. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. FGCU is accepting Toys for Tots donations for the fifth straight year with Saturday being the final day to drop off new, unwrapped toys.

FGCU players will take the toys to the Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida on Dec. 18. It's also Boy Scout night - any Boy Scouts in uniform will be admitted free.

Game Information

Radio:  ESPN 770 AM – Mark Miller

Streaming Video:  A-Sun.TV

Live Stats:  www.FGCUathletics.com

Series:  FIU leads 2-1

Last Meeting:  FGCU 73, FIU 70, 12/2/07 at FIU

Tickets:  $3-20 based on location and available at the Alico Arena Box Office, and online at www.fgcuathletics.com/tickets.

 

FGCU Eagles

2009-10 Record:  0-6

    A-Sun:  0-0

Head Coach:  Dave Balza

    Alma Mater:  Michigan ‘91

    Career:  170-134 (11th year)

    at FGCU:  135-86 (8th year)

Website:  http://www.fgcuathletics.com

 

FIU Golden Panthers

2009-10 Record:  3-8

    Sun Belt:  0-0

Head Coach:  Isiah Thomas (1st year)

Career:  3-8 (1st year)

    at FIU:  3-8 (1st year)

Website:  http://www.fiusports.com

 

Hot Topics

• FGCU has a 95-25 (.798) all-time record as the home team.

• FGCU has an all-time record of 35-18 in games played in the month of December.

• The Eagles enter Saturday’s contest 45-25 (.600) all-time versus in-state opponents.

• True freshman Hunter Miller leads FGCU with 17 assists (2.83 per game).

• The Eagles six newcomers are responsible for 47 percent of FGCU’s scoring.

• Four of the Eagles six losses this season occurred when the opponent collected more three’s than FGCU.

• FIU owns a 2-1 record in the all-time series between the two teams; all three games gave been played in Miami, Fla.

• The Eagles hit the road and begin conference play on Monday, Dec. 14 against USC Upstate at 7:00 p.m. in Spartanburg, S.C. before traveling to Durham, N.C. on Dec. 16 to face North Carolina Central.

 

Home Sweet Home

• Alico Arena has served as the FGCU men’s basketball home arena since December of 2002.

• FGCU has a 95-25 (.798) all-time record as the home team. The Eagles recorded a season-best 20 home wins in the 2006-07 season, and went on to finish with a 27-6 overall record. 

 

Year                       Home    

2009-10                 0-1         

2008-09                 11-6       

2007-08                 4-7         

2006-07                 20-3       

2005-06                 13-6       

2004-05                 18-1       

2003-04                 15-1       

2002-03                 14-0       

Total                       95-25                    

 

FGCU in December

• FGCU has an all-time record of 35-18 in games played in the month of December.

• Since their move to Division I in 2007-08, FGCU has a 6-10 record in the month of December which includes key wins over FIU, Penn, FAU and Army.

 

Sunshine State Series

• The Eagles enter Saturday’s contest 45-25 (.600) all-time versus in-state opponents.

• FGCU has already faced Miami and Bethune-Cookman this season, and will face four more in-state opponents throughout the 2009-10 season – FIU, Stetson, North Florida and Jacksonville.

 

A Helping Hand

• True freshman Hunter Miller leads FGCU with 17 assists (2.83 per game).

• Miller recorded a season-high six assists at SMU (11/21/09).

• The Nashville, Tenn. native sits eighth in assists in the A-Sun, and third among A-Sun freshmen.

 

New Eagles Finding Their Way

• The Eagles six newcomers are responsible for 47 percent of FGCU’s scoring.

• In FGCU’s past three games, the new additions have scored 106-192 (55.2 percent) of the Eagles points, and a first year player has lead FGCU in scoring four of the Eagles six games this season.

• Leading the way is freshman Anthony Banks, Banks has recorded double-figures in four of the Eagles six games (versus No. 2 Michigan State, Miami, Bethune-Cookman and Longwood). The 6-6 forward leads the team in points, minutes played, field goals made and rebounds. 

• Banks ranks fourth among all freshmen in the A-Sun, averaging 11.7 points per game.   

• Freshman guard Sherwood Brown ranks fourth on the team, averaging 6.0 points per game. He posted a season-high 14 points, going 4-6 from the field and 6-6 from the charity stripe against Longwood (12/5/09).  

• Along with his 2.83 assists per game, Miller has put up 23 total points in six games.

 • Junior transfer Charlie Lytle, redshirt freshman Eddie Murray and true freshman Brett Williams have combined for 42 total points. Lytle leads the three, averaging 3.3 points per game. Lytle’s five blocks place him second on the team.

 

Three Is The Key

• The Eagles have struggled from behind the arc this season, shooting just 22.6 percent (19-84) from downtown.

• Four of the Eagles six losses this season occurred when the opponent collected more threes than FGCU.   

• Opponents are shooting 35.5 percent (49-138) from behind the arc, including Miami’s 13 three-pointers against the Eagles on 11/25/09.

 

It Takes a Thief

• FGCU’s 238 steals last season came in large part from senior forward Derrick O’Neil. O’Neil lead the way with 48 steals on the season, collecting a season best six steals against Jacksonville on Feb. 21, 2009. This season O’Neil has collected five steals.

• This season, FGCU has recorded 41 steals. Chambers leads the team with eight steals as Chad Lutkenhaus, Miller and Brown rank second with six apiece.

• This time last season, the Eagles had 45 steals.

 

On the Boards

• In the past three games, FGCU has outrebounded their opponent by 123-106.

• The Eagles have recorded 40 or more rebounds in three games, which includes their season-best 44 rebounds at Longwood (12/5/09).

• Banks leads the team with 30 boards; Seniors Kyle Marks and Derrick O’Neil have 29 and 28 respectively. 

 

Last Time Out

• Banks scored a career-high 19 points, but Longwood held on for an 82-75 victory over the Eagles at Willett Hall, Saturday afternoon. Two other Eagles scored career-highs: Brown added 14 points and Miller collected 10 points.

• The Eagles built an eight-point lead midway through the first half after a 12-2 run was capped by a jumper from Banks to put FGCU up 16-8. Despite FGCU shooting 40.6 percent from the field in the first half, Longwood clawed back and used a 9-0 run to take a 25-22 lead with 5:44 left in the half. The Eagles managed to regain the lead for the second time in the half off two Derrick O’Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.) free throws, but two three-pointers under the one minute mark gave the Lancers a 36-32 lead at the half.

• In the second half, the Lancers gained a 12 points advantage, but FGCU used a 13-5 run to pull within two points at the 11:55 mark. Banks scored six of the Eagles 13 points during that stretch to make the score 58-56 Longwood. FGCU went on and hit 13 of their next 14 free throws, and eventually pulled the score even at 73-73 with just over three minutes remaining in the game. With the game tied, Smith sparked the Longwood offense as they embarked on a 9-2 run to secure the seven point win.

• Longwood’s defense limited FGCU to just 10 percent (1-10) shooting from behind the arc. FGCU did use 19 offensive rebounds to outscore the Lancers 15-12 in second chance points, as they held a 44-37 advantage in total rebounds.

 

Road Warriors

• 16 of FGCU’s 29 games this season will be played on the road. The Eagles faced the 2009 NCAA runner-up Michigan State as part of a four game road trip that took them thru three different states to start the 2009-10 season. The Eagles made non-conference road trips to Texas, Miami, Virginia and will travel to South Carolina and North Carolina in December.

 

Up Next For FGCU

• The Eagles hit the road and begin conference play on Monday Dec. 14 against USC Upstate at 7:00 p.m. in Spartanburg, S.C.

• FGCU will then travel to Durham, North Carolina to face North Carolina Central on Wednesday Dec. 16 at 7:00 p.m.

• Both games can be heard live on ESPN 770 AM.

 

About The Golden Panthers

• Florida International enters the contest with a 3-8 overall record with victories over Florida Memorial (88-82), North Carolina Central (83-73), and Florida A&M (61-56).

• In their last contest, the Golden Panthers lost on the road to No. 21 Florida State.

• FIU opened the game on a 5-0 run, taking advantage of three missed three-pointers by the Seminoles but would fall victim to a 22-2 FSU run to close out the first half. The Seminoles didn’t take their foot off the gas, pushing their lead to as much as 31 in the contest. The game came to a close with FSU on top 82-62.

• The Golden Panthers have four starters who are averaging in double figures through the first 11 games. Junior forward Marvin Roberts leads the way with 15.3 points per game. Junior guard Phil Gary (11.9), junior guard Stephon Weaver (10.5), and senior forward Marlon Bright (10.2) also average double digits as starters. 

• With one of the most talked about off-season acquisitions, the Golden Panthers are under the direction of first year collegiate head coach Isiah Thomas. Thomas is best known for an outstanding playing career that ultimately saw him named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. In 13 seasons, he became the Detroit Pistons’ all-time leader in points, assists, steals and games played. He made the All-Star Team 12 times and was named NBA Finals MVP in 1990. His post-NBA career included stints as a team executive, a television commentator, owner of the Continental Basketball Association, head coach of the Indiana Pacers, and President, General Manager, and head coach for the New York Knicks.

 

The FGCU-FIU Series

• FIU owns a 2-1 record in the all-time series between the two teams; all three games gave been played in Miami, Fla.

• FGCU hit a layup with 47 seconds left in the game, and went 4-4 from the stripe in the final seconds to defeat FIU 73-70 in their last meeting on Dec. 2, 2007.

• In the previous two meetings, FIU outscored FGCU 155-120 including a 28-point victory in the Eagles inaugural season in 2002-03.  

 

FIU Leads 2-1 – Home: 0-0; Away: 1-2; Neutral: 0-0

12-2-07     at FIU (Miami, Fla.)  W  73-70

2-12-04     at FIU (Miami, Fla.)   L  77-70

11-26-02   at FIU (Miami, Fla.)   L  78-50