DURHAM, N.C. - Four Eagles scored in double-figures as FGCU extended its winning streak to three games, defeating North Carolina Central, 76-67. Reed Baker (Naples, Fla.) led the Eagles with 14 points, while sophomore guard Reggie Chambers (Miramar, Fla.) added a career-high 11 assists.
With the win, FGCU (3-6, 1-0 A-Sun) tied its longest winning streak since it became a member of Division I back in the Fall of 2007. Last season, the Eagles defeated Stetson (1/8/09), USC Upstate (1/10//09) and ETSU (1/12/09) to break their previous win streak of two games that they set in their first season in Division I.
Senior Derrick O’Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.) registered 11 points and four steals, redshirt freshman Eddie Murray (North Fort Myers, Fla.) added a career-best 11 points and three steals as Chambers chipped in 12 points. C.J. Wilkerson scored a game-high 26 points for NCCU (2-8), going 7-9 from the charity stripe.
“The last couple of games we shot really well, tonight we had a number of jumpers go in-and-out,” said head coach Dave Balza.” But our defense really stepped up especially in the final minutes to secure the win.”
FGCU took an early 4-0 lead at the 18:55 mark on a Kyle Marks’ (West Palm Beach, Fla.) dunk followed by a layup by Derrick O’Neill (Moreno Valley, Calif.). NCCU quickly answered with a 13-0 run, sparked by back-to-back three-pointers by Dwayne Sims to give the Eagles of NCCU the 13-4 lead with 15:32 to play in the first half.
The Blue and Green chipped away and eventually took their second lead of the contest courtesy of a 10-0 run midway through the first half. Junior forward Chad Lutkenhaus (Labelle, Fla.) scored five of his eight points during the run as he hit a three-pointer to put FGCU ahead 25-21 with 9:23 remaining.
After Baker hit a three-pointer to give FGCU their biggest lead of the night, 31-20 with 7:03 remaining, NCCU used a 19-6 run to take the one point lead with 1:12 remaining in the first half. NCCU hit a free throw to go up by two, but with 28 second left on the clock Baker cut to the basket and sunk the layup to the send the game into the half tied at 39.
In the second half, NCCU took a six-point advantage (49-43) after Wilkerson hit a three-pointer with 16:56 remaining in the game. FGCU again answered with a 6-0 spurt with jumpers by Baker and Chambers, capped by an Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) layup with 14:43 to play.
There were four more lead changes the rest of the game, but it wasn’t until back-to-back buckets by Baker and Chambers with 1:02 remaining that secured the lead and gave FGCU the 76-67 win.
FGCU shot 43.5% (27-62) from the field and collected 21 steals on the night, one steal shy of a record they set in the 2003-04 season against Florida Tech on Dec. 4, 2003. NCCU shot 37.3% (23-61) from the field as FGCU forced 29 NCCU turnovers.
On a three-game winning streak, FGCU gets a six-day break before they host DePaul at Alico Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 22. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., for ticket information call the Alico Arena Box Office at (239) 590-7145 or visit www. FGCUathletics.com.
DePaul leads 1-0
Last Meeting: 1/21/09; FGCU 60, DePaul 92
FGCU vs. Big East Opponents
0-2 All-time record
1/21/08 @ DePaul L 92-60
3/4/08 @ Marquette L 67-37