GAME DAY CENTRAL
FGCU (2-6) at Toledo (1-9)
DATE: Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010
CITY: Toledo, Ohio
SITE: Savage Arena (7,300)
TIP-OFF: 7:00 p.m. ET
LIVE AUDIO: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
TALENT: Tom James (Play-by-Play)
LIVE VIDEO: www.UTRockets.com
LIVE STATS: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
SERIES: First Meeting
AGAINST THE MAC: First Meeting
LAST GAME: #2 Ohio State 83, FGCU 55 - Dec. 15
AT A GLANCE
FGCU will gladly put an end to its string of four straight road games and at the same time look snap a five-game losing skid when it finishes off its trip through Ohio on Saturday night against Mid-American Conference (MAC) foe Toledo at Savage Arena. The Eagles opened their current two-game road trip with an 83-55 loss at No. 2 Ohio State on Wednesday evening. The opening five weeks of the 2010-11 season has yielded seven road games for the Eagles, including three against BCS foes. Blue and Green's six losses have come against opponents who have a combined record of 40-15.
WE’VE GOT A FIRST TIMER HERE
Saturday night's game will mark the sixth time this season FGCU has faced an opponent for the first time, which is no surprise since the program started in 2002-03 and joined the Division I ranks in 2007-08. To take it a step further, the Eagles have never squared off against a team from the Mid-American Conference (MAC). 500/250 CLUB With eight points and six rebounds on Saturday night, redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS can become the seventh player and the first at just the Division I level to accumulate 500 points and 250 rebounds in the brief nine-year history of the program.
SCOUTING THE ROCKETS
Toledo picked up its first win under first-year head coach Tod Kowalczyk in its last outing against Valparaiso. Behind double-doubles from the freshmen duo of Reese Holliday (G) and Hayden Humes (F), the Rockets rallied from 13-points down to eventually win in overtime. Toledo lost its first nine games of the season, but faced a tough schedule, beginning with games at nationally-ranked Illinois and Temple, contests against Rhode Island and Charleston at the 2K Sports Classic, and a home game against still-unbeaten Cincinnati. The Rockets sport a youthful starting lineup that featured four underclassmen, including three freshmen in the win over Valpo. A true freshman, Holliday has gotten hot over his last six games, averaging 12.2 points with double figure points in three straight games. Humes, a redshirt freshman, has returned from a knee injury in 2009-10 to rank sixth in the MAC in rebounding at 7.2 boards per game. Sophomore Malcolm Griffin leads the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game and has hit for double-digit points in six of 10 games.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
FGCU HEAD COACH
@ FGCU: 145-106 (9th Season)
Overall: 180-155 (12th Season)
Atlantic Sun: 18-40 (4th Season)
Vs. Toledo: First Meeting
TOLEDO HEAD COACH
@ Toledo: 1-9 (First Season)
Overall: 137-121 (9th Season)
MAC: 0-0 (First Season)
Vs. FGCU: First Meeting
The inside-out combination of redshirt sophomore forward ANTHONY BANKS and senior guard REED BAKER give FGCU one of the most prolific scoring duos in the A-Sun. Both have finished in double figures in five of eight games and have led the Eagles in scoring 30 of their 37 contests together, including 12 of the last 13, dating back to last season. For their careers, both have reached double figures in the same game 17 times and currently stack up as the third-best scoring tandem in the A-Sun. The duo has combined to score 30 or more points four times this season and 40 or more twice. Baker and Banks ranks third and ninth, respectively, in scoring.
Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS has been on a strict offensive rebounding diet, collecting 6.6 caroms per contest. Banks has grabbed a staggering 31 offensive boards this season, including nine against ACC foe Miami which equaled his career-best. Banks leads the A-Sun in offensive rebounds per game (3.9) and as of Dec. 9 ranked tied for eighth in the nation. Banks has grabbed five or more offensive rebounds in a game five times this season. He currently ranks 11th overall in the A-Sun at 6.6 caroms per contest.
GOING OUT WITH A BANG
After transferring to FGCU after his freshman season at Michigan, senior REED BAKER is having the best season of his collegiate career. Baker ranks third in the A-Sun in scoring at 16.5 points per game. Baker has finished in double figures in six of eight games, including 20 or more a team-best three times. The Naples, Fla. product also ranks second in the conference in steals per game (2.5) and free throw percentage (.872).
ON THE OFFENSIVE
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 lead the A-Sun in offensive rebounds per game (13.9). FGCU has grabbed double figure offensive boards in 34 of its last 38 games, including seven of eight this season (only 5 at Ohio State). A year removed from grabbing 100 offensive caroms, Banks already has 31 this season to lead the A-Sun, while junior TIM SNYDER (11), sophomore SHERWOOD BROWN (10) and freshman CHASE FIELER (12) all have double-digit offensive caroms.
The A-Sun's third leading scorer, senior REED BAKER has reached the 20-point plateau three times already this season. Baker was joined by junior TIM SNYDER in the 20-point club at Grambling, while ANTHONY BANKS scored 21 points to Baker's 20 against Miami. The two games marked the fourth and fifth time, respectively, that a pair of players has gone for at least 20 points in the same game since FGCU joined Division I. Baker has been a part of four of the five occasions. The Naples, Fla. product has 12 career 20-point games.
THE FLOOR GENERAL
Junior MARLON RIVERA has taken over the reins of the point guard position with his strong play on both ends of the court. Rivera is one of four players in the A-Sun in the top 15 in assists per game and rebounds per game. The FGCU floor general has dished out nine assists in each of FGCU's two home games and ranks tied for third in the league in assists per contest (4.8). Rivera's 5.6 rebounds per game rank 15th in the A-Sun, while he's 10th in steals per game (1.9). Rivera also averages 7.1 points and has reached double figures twice.
COUNTDOWN TO THE BIG 1-0-0-0
With a fast start to his senior campaign, REED BAKER is rapidly approaching the 1000-point plateau for his FGCU career. Thanks to his team-best 16.5 points per game, Baker is just 121 points away from becoming the third player in program history to score 1,000 points. He currently sits in fourth place all-time with 879 points and has a 12.9 scoring average over 68 games.
TAKE IT TO THE BANKS
The versatility of ANTHONY BANKS was on full display in 2009-10 and the redshirt sophomore is back at it again this season. Banks in second on the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game while leading in field goal percentage (.506), rebounding (6.6) and offensive rebounds (31). Banks has led the team in scoring four times, rebounding four times and both in the same game on three occasions. He's reached double figures in a team-best seven games while posting a league-best three double-doubles.
Senior REED BAKER has not only scored in double figures in six of eight games this season, he's reached the double-digit plateau in six halves. Five of Baker's six double figure halves have come in the final frame where he is averaging a healthy 10.1 points.
LICENSE TO STEAL
Along with his scoring prowess, senior REED BAKER has upped his game on the defensive end with 20 steals over the first eight games. Just a year ago, Baker registered just 25 steals and is just five away from equaling that total. With an average of 2.5 steals per game, Baker ranks second in the A-Sun behind JU's Ayron Hardy (3.1) - a two-time A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year. For his career, Baker has 18 multi-steal games, highlighted by seven against ETSU on Jan. 12, 2009 - the second most in single-game history. Baker nearly equaled his career-high with six last game at UNF.
Now eight games into his collegiate career, freshman CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is starting to feel comfortable in his role off the bench. Over four games off the pine, Varidel is averaging 10 points compared to 5.5 points over four games as a starter. Both of Varidel's double figure scoring efforts have come off the bench, including a season-best 16 points at UNF in the A-Sun opener. The Versoix, Switzerland native ranks 11th in the A-Sun with 1.75 three-pointers per game.
JUST IN TIME
Junior KEVIN CANTINOL made his much-anticipated FGCU debut last game against No. 2 Ohio State. The 6-foot-9, 253-lb. center came to Fort Myers after spending his first season and a half at the SEC's Ole Miss. Cantinol transferred mid-semester and due to NCAA four-year transfer rules had to sit out for a year. Cantinol's appearance in the lineup came at the perfect time with junior TIM SNYDER (7.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg) out with a orbital bone fracture.
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
One of the bright spots during FGCU's current losing streak has been the improved play of freshman CHASE FIELER. After scoring just 11 points in the first four games, Fieler is averaging 7.0 points and 4.0 rebounds over the last four. Along the way, Fieler has hit 40 percent (8-20) of his shots from three-point land and finished in double figures twice, including a team-high 12 at No. Ohio State.