FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team fell to Kennesaw State in the final seconds of Friday night’s game, 69-68. FGCU used a late 12-0 run to take a one-point lead, but fell just short of the win.
The Eagles record falls to 5-13 (2-7 A-Sun), as Kennesaw State improves to 7-12 (2-6 A-Sun).
Redshirt-Freshman Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half on 6-of-8 shooting, and recorded seven rebounds. Sophomore Reggie Chambers (Miramar, Fla.) added 16 points and six rebounds, while Derrick O’Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.) grabbed a game high 10 rebounds. Kennesaw State’s Markeith Cummings led all scorers with 30 points.
Cummings scored the first 17 points for the Owls, singlehandedly outscoring the Eagles through the first 7:19 of the game (17-14). Back-to-back threes from KSU’s Kelvin McConnell and Spencer Dixon extended the Owl advantage to 23-14 with 12:12 remaining in the first half.
Kennesaw State would go on an 11-0 run, capped by a Cummings dunk to build a 38-22 lead with 3:50 left in the half. The Eagles scored the next five points, cutting the lead to 44-32 heading into the locker room.
Cummings finished the half with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Chambers led the Eagles with 11 points and four rebounds in the first half.
Kennesaw State maintained a double-digit lead throughout much of the second half, widening the gap to as much as 20 points (64-44) with 10:34 remaining. However the Eagles would not go down without a fight. Trailing 65-46 with 8:34 remaining in the contest, the Blue and Green scored 10 consecutive points to trim the deficit to just nine (65-56) with six minutes to go.
After a Jonathan Whipple dunk ended the KSU drought with 5:27 remaining, Banks answered back with a dunk of his own that sparked a 12-0 run, giving FGCU a one-point advantage (68-67) at the 1:17 mark. The Eagles continued to utilize a full-court press, forcing four turnovers and shutting down the Owls offense.
With FGCU holding on to a one-point lead, KSU’s Kurtis Woods hit both free throws off a Chad Lutkenhaus (Fort Myers, Fla.) foul, advancing the Owls to a 69-68 lead. Despite having one last opportunity, a turnover by O’Neil with five seconds remaining would leave FGCU empty handed.
As a team the Eagles shot only 51.9-percent (7-of-13) from the charity stripe and went 24-of-61 (39.3-percent) from the field. FGCU also scored 21-points off 24 KSU turnovers. The Owls shot 57.8-percent (26-of-45) from the field and 54.5-percent (12-of-22) from behind the arc.
The Eagles are back in action this Sunday, Jan. 24 as they play host to the Bears of Mercer University for “Take A Kid To The Game Day.” Tip-off is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. at Alico Arena.