FORT MYERS, Fla.—The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team fell to North Florida 62-56 in the A-Sun game of the week Friday night before a crowd of 3,277 fans at Alico Arena. Junior guard Reed Baker (Naples, Fla.) led FGCU in scoring for the third consecutive game.
FGCU (5-9, 2-3 A-Sun) shot 44-percent from the field, but was 0-for-10 from beyond the 3-point arc compared to UNF’s 8-for-21 (38.1-percent). UNF also shot 20-for-50 (40-percent) from the field and went 14-for-25 (56-percent) from the charity stripe Baker led all scorers with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
Baker has scored in double-figures in eight straight games, dating back to the Eagles matchup against FIU (12/12/09).
“I thought North Florida played a really good ball game,” FGCU head coach Dave Balza said. “They did a good job of pressuring our guards and doubling down in the post. We had too many empty possessions on the offensive end.”
The Eagles fell behind early as UNF held a 21-13 lead with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half. The Blue and Green cut into that lead temporarily after an offensive rebound and monster jam by senior Kyle Marks (West Palm Beach, Fla.) with 40 seconds remaining in the first half, but the Ospreys (7-8, 2-3 A-Sun) took a 31-23 lead into the halftime break.
Baker’s old fashioned 3-point play a little under five minutes into the second half brought the Eagles within six (32-38) and a layup by Banks at 14:19 trimmed the Ospreys’ lead to two (36-38).
That’s where UNF’s lead sat with less than four minutes to go when the Ospreys scored five consecutive points bringing their lead to 53-60 with 2:12 remaining.
A dunk by freshman Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) with just under two minutes remaining brought FGCU within five (55-60), but they would draw no closer.
The Eagles outrebounded the Ospreys 37-34 and had seven blocked shots as a team.
Banks shot 5-of-10 from the floor, totaling 14 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds. For Banks, this was his third consecutive game in double-digits. Marks finished with eight points, six rebounds, and a season-high five blocked shots. Senior Derrick O’ Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.) chipped in with seven points and five rebounds.
Brad Haugabrook led the Ospreys with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
The Eagles are back in action this Sunday, January 10 at 2:05pm for another A-Sun matchup against the Dolphins of Jacksonville University at Alico Arena.