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FGCU Aims For Third Straight Win At SEC Foe Arkansas
AT A GLANCE
FGCU will closeout its two-game road swing and its part in the Razorback Showcase when it takes on SEC foe Arkansas on Monday night in Fayetteville at Bud Walton Arena. The Eagles are coming off a 74-70 win at Grambling and will be in search of just their third three-game win streak since joining Division I in 2007-08. The contest will be the fourth in 10 days for the Blue and Green, while the Razorbacks have played just one game.
TRADITION VS. FUTURE
Entering just the ninth season in program history, including the fourth in Division I, FGCU will square off against an Arkansas program that has been in existence since 1923-24 (88th year) and has six Final Fours to its credit. FGCU joined the Atlantic Sun in 2007-08, while Arkansas has been a member of the SEC since 1990.
Senior REED BAKER and junior TIM SNYDER poured in 23 and 21 points, respectively, at Grambling to mark the fourth time a pair of players have gone for at least 20 points in the same game since FGCU joined Division I. Baker was a part of the feat in each of the last two years, while the 20-point outing was his second in a row. The Naples, Fla. product has 11 career 20-point games and done so it back-to-back games three times, including a four-game streak in 2008-09.
SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS
Picked to finish third in the SEC West, fourth-year head John Pelphrey leads an Arkansas club that features great athleticism and arguably the best shooter in nation in junior Rotnei Clark. After scoring over 100 points in each of their exhibition games, the Razorbacks opened the season with an easy 75-52 win over Grambling on Thursday evening. Clark, who is fresh off a season in which he made 100 three-pointers, led the way against Grambling with 20 points on five trifectas. Deemed the top shooter in the nation by Sporting News and a preseason All-SEC second team choice by the league head coaches, Clark averaged 26.7 points over six game in November last year. Sophomore Marshawn Powell exploded onto the SEC scene in 2009-10, averaging 14.9 points and 6.7 rebounds en route to Freshman All-American status. Powell was a preseason All-SEC first team choice by the league head coaches. Iowa transfer Jeff Peterson figures to make a big impact at the point guard position after averaging 10.6 points and 4.2 assists per game as a Hawkeye in 2008-09.
AGAINST THE SEC
Monday night's game at Arkansas will be FGCU's second game against a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Eagles dropped their lone meeting at Florida, 94-60, on Dec. 10, 2008.
AGAINST BCS OPPONENTS
FGCU is 1-10 all-time against BCS foes after picking up a win over BIG EAST opponent DePaul last season at Alico Arena. DePaul was the first BCS men's basketball program to come to Fort Myers, while all other 10 contests have been played on the road. Arkansas is the second of four BCS foes FGCU will square off against this season. The Eagles will play host to Miami on Nov. 27 while traveling to Ohio State on Dec. 15.
WE'VE GOT A FIRST TIMER HERE
Monday night's game will mark the first time FGCU and Arkansas have squared-off. The Eagles' first three games of the season have also come against teams they've never faced. In all, the 2010-11 FGCU schedule features seven teams its never faced.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
FGCU HEAD COACH Dave Balza
@ FGCU: 145-102 (9th Season)
Atlantic Sun: 18-38 (4th Season)
Vs. Arkansas: First Meeting
ARKANSAS HEAD COACH John Pelphrey
@ Arkansas: 52-46 (4th Season)
Overall: 132-113 (9th Season)
SEC: 18-30 (4th Season)
Vs. FGCU: First Meeting
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 three games and rank as the third-best scoring tandem in the A-Sun.
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.
Led by senior REED BAKER'S team-leading 21 points per game that rank second in the Atlantic Sun, FGCU sports three players in double figures. Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS' has battled through foul trouble in the last two games to average 15.7 while frontcourt mate TIM SNYDER averages 11.3 points. Dating back to last season, either Baker or Banks has led the team in scoring eight consecutive games.
EARNING THEIR STRIPES
Over the first three games, FGCU has made a remarkable 114 trips (38 per game) to the charity stripe, 56 more attempts than its opponents. The Eagles have knocked down just 69-of-114 free throws, but it has led to a +9.7 scoring margin per game. After earning just 88 trips to the free throw line in 2009-10, senior REED BAKER is a healthy 24-of-30 this season, ranking second in the A-Sun in attempts behind Kennesaw's Markeith Cummings who has played four 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 against Southeast Missouri. Rivera's dominating performance on both ends of the court featured 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists over 33 minutes. His double-double was the team's first of the year.
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 45 offensive caroms over the first three games to tie for the league lead. FGCU has grabbed double figure offensive boards in 30 of its last 33 games, dating back to the final contest of the 2008-09 season. Banks' 10 offensive rebounds this season put him in a tie for second in the A-Sun (3.3).
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 three games, Banks sports a 60 percent (18-30) clip from the field, good for fifth in the conference. A career 57 percent (171-300) shooter, Banks has made 50 percent or better from the field in 24 of 32 career games.
LICENSE TO STEAL
Along with his scoring prowess, senior REED BAKER has upped his game on the defensive end with seven steals over the first three games. Baker registered three steals at Indiana and did the same against Southeast Missouri to rank tied for fifth 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.
A key component is FGCU's win over Grambling was its ability to draw charges. For the game, the Eagles took six charges, led by three from both redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS and junior TIM SNYDER.
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.
Senior REED BAKER has not only scored in double figures in all three games this season, he's reached the double-digit plateau in three halves. Baker enters Monday's showdown with Arkansas with double figure points in three of the last four halves after scoring a career-high 28 points against SEMO and 23 more at Grambling.
Redshirt sophomore Anthony Banks celebrated his 21st birthday on Saturday by helping FGCU win at Grambling with his sixth career double-double. Banks scored 15 points and added a game-high 10 rebounds, including five offensive.
On the strength of a 53-point second half last 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. Over its last two games, FGCU has produced 102 points (51 ppg) in the second half.
After having successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot over the summer, Atlantic Sun preseason All-Conference forward ANTHONY BANKS is averaging 15.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this season after a double-double at Grambling. 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.