Kennesaw State (3-12, 1-4) at FGCU (3-11, 0-5)
DATE: Friday, Jan. 14, 2011
CITY: Fort Myers, Fla.
SITE: Alico Arena (4,500)
TIP-OFF: 7:05 p.m. ET
LIVE AUDIO & STATS: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
TALENT: Tom James (Play-by-Play) J. Webb-Horton (Analyst)
LIVE VIDEO: ASun.TV
SERIES: Kennesaw leads, 4-2
LAST MEETING: Kennesaw 77, FGCU 70 Jan. 30, 2010 (Box Score on Pg. 2)
AGAINST THE A-SUN: 18-43
LAST GAME: ETSU 84, FGCU 65 - Jan. 8 UP NEXT: vs. Mercer - Jan. 16, 2011
AT A GLANCE
After having its last game postponed due to snow in Spartanburg, S.C., FGCU returns to the hardwood and the friendly confines of Alico Arena for its first game in over a week when it hosts Kennesaw State on Friday night. The Eagles are hoping to snap out of their recent four-game losing streak, while the Owls have dropped 12 of their last 13 since starting 2-0 with a convincing win over ACC foe Georgia Tech.
Close games have been a staple in the six meetings between the two teams, as four games have been decided by eight points or less. Kennesaw State leads the all-time series by a 4-2 margin, but FGCU is 2-1 against the Owls at Alico Arena. Kennesaw did win last year’s meeting, 69-68, in Fort Myers behind 30 points from then-freshman Markeith Cummings. Cummings had KSU's first 17 points of the game.
The start of the Atlantic Sun season for the Eagles has featured the league's toughest schedule. FGCU's first five opponents (Belmont, Jacksonville, Lipscomb, UNF, ETSU) have a combined record of 21-7 in conference action so far and occupy the four spots in the standings.
SCOUTING THE OWLS
Kennesaw State enters Friday night with a 3-12 overall record and a 1-4 mark in A-Sun action. The Owls are 0-9 on the road this season and are coming off a 65-52 loss at Campbell on January 7. Kennesaw is led by the second-best scoring tandem in the A-Sun with sophomore Markeith Cummings and junior Spencer Dixon contributing a combined 30.9 points per game. Cummings, who averaged 26.5 over two games against FGCU a season ago, ranks fourth in the A-Sun in scoring at a 16 per contest clip. Cummings has reached double figures in 14 of 15 games. Dixon's 14.9 points per game have come on the strength of six 20-point outings, as the junior guard leads the team with 29 three-pointers and 60 assists. Sophomore Aaron Anderson is tied for the A-Sun lead in rebounding (8.3) and is coming off a 15-rebound performance at Campbell.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
FGCU HEAD COACH
@ FGCU: 146-111 (9th Season)
Overall: 181-160 (12th Season)
Atlantic Sun: 18-43 (4th Season)
Vs. Kennesaw State: 2-4
KENNESAW STATE HEAD COACH
@ Kennesaw State: 173-154 (9th Season)
Overall: 240-193 (15th Season)
Vs. FGCU: 4-2
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 14 games and have led the Eagles in scoring 34 of their 43 contests together, including 11 of 14 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.
Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS has been on a strict offensive rebounding diet, collecting a staggering 54 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). He has grabbed five or more offensive rebounds in a game seven times this season and 16 for his career. He ranks 11th in the A-Sun at 6.3 caroms per contest. Against Lipscomb (Jan. 5), 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 12 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.
Freshman CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL leads the team and ranks seventh in the Atlantic Sun in three-pointers per game (2.1). Out of Varidel's 31 made field goals on season, 29 have come from beyond the arc. Varidel has made three or more trifectas in a game five times and is shooting at a respectable 38 percent. Over the last two games, Varidel is averaging 12 points thanks to eight three-pointers.
TAKE IT TO THE BANKS
The versatility of ANTHONY BANKS is on full display again this season. Banks leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game while leading in field goal percentage (.513), rebounding (6.3) and offensive rebounds (54). 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 12 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 are third in the A-Sun in offensive rebounds per game (12.9). FGCU has grabbed double figure offensive boards in 38 of its last 44 games, including 11 this season. Banks is a year removed from grabbing 100 offensive caroms and has 154 for his career compared to 126 defensive rebounds.
Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS' four double-doubles in 14 games are just one off his total from all of last year and tied for first in the A-Sun. 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.
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 5.6 rebounds per game are 15th in the A-Sun, while he's third in steals per game (2.0). Rivera also averages 7.1 points and has reached double figures three times. Against Lipscomb, he led the team in points (14), rebounds (7) and assists (6).