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FGCU Begins Two-Game Road Swing At Grambling
AT A GLANCE
Coming off a win in its home opener, FGCU will now look for its first road win of the 2010-11 campaign when it heads to Louisiana for its first-ever meeting with Grambling Saturday evening. The game is part of the Razorback Challenge put together by Arkansas University and is the first of two games on a four-day road swing for the Eagles. Grambling sits at 0-3 on the year after beginning with three straight road contests. The game will mark FGCU's second game of the season against an opponent in their home opener.
WE’VE GOT A FIRST TIMER HERE
Saturday's game will mark the first time FGCU and Grambling have squared-off. The Eagles' first four games of the season come against teams they've never faced until they host Miami on Nov. 27. In all, the 2010-11 FGCU schedule features seven teams its never faced.
OH WHAT A NIGHT
FGCU opened its home schedule in style on Tuesday night, scoring a program Division I record 89 points during a win over Southeast Missouri. Senior REED BAKER led the scoring frenzy with a career-high 28 points to fuel a 53-point second half. Junior MARLON RIVERA just missed recording a triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
After starting the season with three straight road games at nationally-ranked Baylor, Rice and Arkansas, Grambling will open its home slate against the Eagles. Led by second-year head coach Bobby Washington, the Tigers' starting five against Arkansas featured four upperclassmen, but was without junior Justin Wilson. Wilson leads the club in both scoring (16.0) and rebounding (6.0) in his two games played, highlighted by 18 points and seven boards against No. 14 Baylor. Grambling sports formidable size inside with 6-foot-9 junior Chris Britt-Black and 7-foot center PJ Roberson.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
FGCU HEAD COACH Dave Balza
@ FGCU: 144-102 (9th Season)
Overall: Same Atlantic Sun: 18-38 (4th Season)
Vs. Grambling: First Meeting
GRAMBLING HEAD COACH
@ Grambling: 7-24 (2nd Season)
Overall: same SWAC: 4-14 (2nd Season)
Vs. FGCU: First Meeting
Led by senior REED BAKER'S league-leading 20 points per game, FGCU is one of three teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference to have a pair of players in the top 10 in scoring. Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS' back-to-back 16-point efforts to open the year put him in a tie for ninth in the league. Dating back to last season, either Baker or Banks has led the team in scoring seven consecutive games.
SEEING DOUBLE, ALMOST TRIPLE
Playing in just his second game at the Division I level, junior MARLON RIVERA fell just one assist shy of become the first player in FGCU history to register a triple-double. Rivera's dominating performance on both ends of the court against Southeast Missouri State featured 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists over 33 minutes. His double-double was the team's first of the year and one of eight in the A-Sun so far this season.
FGCU welcomes back eight players from last year's club including its top two leading scorers in redshirt sophomore forward ANTHONY BANKS (12.9 ppg) and senior REED BAKER (11.4 ppg). A combination of Banks or Baker led the Eagles in scoring 23 of 29 contests in 2009-10, while both reached double figures in the same game 12 times. Both have finished in double figures in each of the team's first two games and are tied with Lipscomb's Josh Slater and Adnan Hodzic as the highest-scoring duo in the A-Sun at 36 points per contests.
Not equipped with a lot of size in the paint, FGCU makes up for it by staying active on the offensive glass. Led by preseason All-Conference choice ANTHONY BANKS, the Eagles ranked third in the Atlantic Sun in 2009-10 in offensive rebounds per game (13.6). The Eagles are back at it again this season, grabbing 28 offensive caroms over the first two games. FGCU has grabbed double figure offensive boards in 29 of its last 32 games, dating back to the final contest of the 2008-09 season.
After finishing second in the A-Sun in field goal percentage as a freshman in 2009-10, ANTHONY BANKS is out to take over the crown in his second campaign. Through two games, Banks sports a 69 percent (11-16) clip from the field, good for third in the conference. A career 57 percent (164-286) shooter, Banks has made 50 percent or better from the field in 23 of 31 career games.
LICENSE TO STEAL
Along with his scoring prowess, senior REED BAKER has upped his game on the defensive end with six steals over the first two games. Baker registered three steals at Indiana and did the same against Southeast Missouri to rank second in the A-Sun. For his career, Baker has 15 multi-steal games, highlighted by seven against ETSU on Jan. 12, 2009 - the second most in single-game history.
ON THE OFFENSIVE
Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS leads the charge on the offensive glass after grabbing 100 offensive caroms in 2009-10. In just 30 career games, Banks has snared five or more offensive boards in a game 10 times, including five at Indiana. The Lantana, Fla. product has grabbed an offensive rebound in 29 of 31 games and had his streak of 29 straight contests snapped against Southeast Missouri State. Banks totaled nine offensive boards against Jacksonville (Jan. 9, 2010), starting a three-game stretch in which he grabbed 21.
On the strength of a 53-point second half on Tuesday night against Southeast Missouri, FGCU scored a program Division I record 89 points against the Redhawks. The Eagles knocked down 56 percent (33-59) of their shots for the game; also a program D-I record.
After having successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot over the summer, Atlantic Sun preseason All-Conference forward ANTHONY BANKS has scored 16 points in back-to-back games to open the season. The 2009-10 A-Sun All-Freshmen team choice suffered the same injury on the opposite foot prior to the start of his true-freshman season. Banks was expected to be out until the start of A-Sun play in December.
FGCU's 53-point second half against Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday evening marked the fourth straight year since joining the Division I ranks that its scored 50 points in a second half. The 53 points matched last years output against Belmont on Feb. 20, while all four of the five 50+ second periods have come at Alico Arena.
After becoming just the fourth player in Atlantic Sun history to lead the conference in free throw percentage two straight years (08-09, 09-10), senior REED BAKER will look to become just the second player to accomplish the feat in three straight seasons. Belmont's Steve Drabyn (01-04) is the only player in A-Sun history to lead the league three consecutive years.
YOU CAN BANKS ON IT
The versatility of ANTHONY BANKS was on full display in 2009-10, as the then-redshirt freshman made his way onto the A-Sun's All-Rookie team. Banks led the Eagles in five different categories and was the only player to start all 29 games. Over the 29 games, Banks led FGCU in scoring 11 times and rebounding on 14 occasions, including both in the same game four times. Banks reached double figures in 21 games with five double-doubles.
With the scoring punch of Banks and Baker returning, FGCU will also turn to sophomore wing SHERWOOD BROWN for a big second season. Brown had a solid ending to his freshman season, scoring in double figures in three of the last five games. In Tuesday's win over Southeast Missouri, the trio combined for 50 points.