On The Road Again; FGCU Heads To ETSU
Friday, January 07, 2011
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GAMEDAY CENTRAL
FGCU (3-10, 0-4) at ETSU (8-7, 3-1)
DATE:
Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011
CITY: Johnson City, Tenn.
SITE: Memorial Center (6, 500)
TIP-OFF: 4:00 p.m. ET
LIVE AUDIO & VIDEO: www.ETSUBUCS.com
LIVE STATS: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
SERIES: ETSU leads, 4-1
LAST MEETING: ETSU 56, FGCU 47
Feb. 4, 2010
AGAINST THE A-SUN: 18-42
LAST GAME: Lipscomb 75, FGCU 61 - Jan. 5
UP NEXT: @ USC Upstate - Jan. 10, 2011

AT A GLANCE
After enjoying a four-game homestand, FGCU heads north for an Atlantic Sun weekend that begins with a Saturday matinee at ETSU. The Eagles will be playing their eighth road game of the season, while it will be just second home game since Nov. 27 for the Buccaneers. FGCU will look to rid itself of a five-game A-Sun losing streak and pick up its first conference win of 2010-11.

ALL-TIME SERIES
-FGCU will look snap a three-game losing streak against ETSU on Saturday afternoon. The Buccaneers own a 4-1 edge in the all-time series and are 2-0 against the Eagles at the Memorial Center. Last year in Johnson City, FGCU was limited to 10 first half points - the lowest total in program history. In that game, ANTHONY BANKS finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, including seven offensive.

TOUGH ROAD
The start of the Atlantic Sun season for the Eagles has featured the league's toughest schedule. FGCU's first four opponents (Belmont, Jacksonville, Lipscomb, UNF) have a combined record of 12-2 in conference action so far and occupy four of the top five positions in the standings. By playing ETSU, the Eagles will have played the top five teams.

SCOUTING THE BUCCANEERS
ETSU enters on a season-long four-game win streak and an overall record of 8-7. The Bucs picked up a pair of A-Sun road wins at Mercer and Kennesaw State recently to move into a tie for third place at 3-1. Despite playing just two of its 11 non-conference away from home, ETSU picked up a pair of big road wins at Dayton and SEC foe Mississippi State. The win at Dayton snapped a 40-game non-conference home win streak for the Flyers. ETSU has held six opponents to 60 points or less, ranking second in the A-Sun in scoring defense (64.9). Senior guard Mike Smith leads a quartet of double figure scorers for the Buccaneers with 15.5 points per game - fifth in the A-Sun. Smith has reached double-digits in all but one game. Junior forward Isiah Brown leads the team and ranks third in the conference in rebounding at a 7.1 clip. Brown also averages 10.2 points, highlighted by a 25-point and 14-rebound night at Kentucky in the season opener. Senior Michah Williams (12.9) and Justin Tubbs round out the double figure scorers. Tubbs had 26 points in the win at Dayton.

HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
FGCU HEAD COACH
Dave Balza
@ FGCU: 146-110 (9th Season)
Overall: 181-159 (12th Season)
Atlantic Sun: 18-42 (4th Season)
Vs. ETSU: 1-4

ETSU HEAD COACH
Murry Burtow
@ ETSU: 146-94 (8th Season)
Overall: 249-177 (13th Season)
Atlantic Sun: 69-29 (6th Season)
Vs. FGCU: 4-1

INSIDE-OUT THREAT
The inside-out combination of redshirt sophomore forward ANTHONY BANKS and senior guard REED BAKER give FGCU the third-highest scoring duo in the A-Sun. Both have finished in double figures in eight of 13 games and have led the Eagles in scoring 34 of their 42 contests together, including 11 of 13 contests this season. For their careers, both have reached double figures in the same game 20 times, while the duo has combined to score 35 or more points six times this season and 40 or more three times.

SPALDING DIET
Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS has been on a strict offensive rebounding diet, collecting a staggering 52 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 (4.0). He has grabbed five or more offensive rebounds in a game seven times this season and 16 for his career. He ranks ninth in the A-Sun at 6.5 caroms per contest. Last game against Lipscomb, Banks gathered his 150th career offensive rebound.

LEADER OF THE PACK
Junior MARLON RIVERA has taken over the reins of the point guard position and leads the A-Sun in assists per game (32nd nationally) at a 5.5 clip. Rivera has led the team in assists 11 times, highlighted by five outings with seven helpers or more. On Dec. 21 in a win over N.C. Central, Rivera dished out 12 assists - the second-most in the program's Division I history and one of three double-digit performances by an A-Sun player this season. FGCU has had a player dish out 100 or more assists in six of the program's first nine seasons.

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 tied for sixth in the A-Sun in scoring at 15.2 points per game and has finished in double figures in nine games, including 20 or more four times. The Naples, Fla. product is one of two players in the A-Sun with two or more games of 25+ points.

TAKE IT TO THE BANKS
The versatility of ANTHONY BANKS is on full display again this season. Banks is tied for the team lead in scoring at 15.2 points per game while leading in field goal percentage (.528), rebounding (6.5) and offensive rebounds (52). Banks has led the team in scoring seven times, rebounding seven times and both in the same game on six occasions. He's reached double figures in a team-best 11 games while posting a league-best four double-doubles.

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 ANTHONY BANKS, the Eagles rank fourth in the A-Sun in offensive rebounds per game (12.9). FGCU has grabbed double figure offensive boards in 37 of its last 43 games, including 10 this season. Banks is a year removed from grabbing 100 offensive caroms and has 152 for his career compared to 125 defensive rebounds.

DOUBLE DOWN
Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS' four double-doubles in 13 games are just one off his total from all of last year. Banks is trying to track down Landon Alder's single-season Division I record of six set in 2007-08. Alder is the all-time leader with 22 career double-doubles, while Banks is third with nine.

FLOOR GENERAL
With his strong play on both ends of the court, junior MARLON RIVERA is one of two players in the A-Sun in the top 15 in assists per game, top 5 in rebounds per game and top 5 in steals. The FGCU floor general's 5.7 rebounds per game are 15th in the A-Sun, while he's third in steals per game (1.9). Rivera also averages 6.9 points and has reached double figures three times. Last game against Lipscomb, he led the team in points (14), rebounds (7) and assists (6).

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 15.2 points per game, Baker is just 56 points away from becoming the third player in program history to score 1,000 points. He currently sits in fourth place all-time with 944 points and has a 13.0 scoring average over 73 games.

BOMBS AWAY
Freshman CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL leads the team and ranks ninth in the Atlantic Sun in three-pointers per game (1.9). Out of Varidel's 27 made field goals on season, 25 have come from beyond the arc. Varidel has made three or more trifectas in a game four times and is shooting at a respectable 37 percent.