FGCU (5-14, 2-8) at Lipscomb (13-8, 8-4)
DATE: Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011
CITY: Nashville, Tenn.
SITE: Allen Arena (5,028)
TIP-OFF: 3:00 p.m. ET
LIVE AUDIO: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
TALENT: Tom James (Play-by-Play)
LIVE STATS: www.LIPSCOMBSPORTS.com
LIVE VIDEO: A-Sun.TV
SERIES: Lipscomb leads, 5-1
LAST MEETING: Lipscomb 75, FGCU 61 - Jan. 5, 2011
LAST GAME: Belmont 89, FGCU 56 - Jan. 28
LAST FIVE GAMES: 2-3
AT A GLANCE
FGCU will close out its string of four consecutive A-Sun road games and the month of January on Sunday afternoon when it takes on Lipscomb at Allen Arena. The two teams met earlier in the month in Fort Myers with the Bisons coming away with a 75-61 win. Freshman CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL has led FGCU to a pair of wins during its current road streak, averaging 20 points per game while knocking down 12-of-22 from three and a perfect 16-of-16 from the free throw line.
Several program records fell during FGCU's 111-103 triple-overtime win at Stetson on Tuesday evening - the longest game in program history. The 111 points scored were a Division I record for the Blue and Green and the third-best total in the nine-year history as they took a record 60 free throws (41-60). The two teams combined 214 points were the most in a single game FGCU has participated in.
Lipscomb leads the all-time series by a 5-1 margin after sweeping the season series in 2009-10 and taking the first meeting this season to run its win streak to three games against the Eagles. FGCU is 0-2 against Lipscomb at Allen Arena, but battled the Bison to an 89-79 outcome last year in Nashville. During last year's meeting at Lipscomb, the Eagles owned a 40-18 edge in points in the paint but were undone by 15 three-pointers by the Bisons.
SCOUTING THE BISONS
Lipscomb has ripped off three straight wins since dropping a tough one-point game at ETSU just over a week ago. The Bisons are in sole possession of fourth place in the A-Sun standings at 8-4 and 13-8 overall. Included in Lipscomb's three-game win streak is a victory over cross town rival Belmont, who was undefeated in the A-Sun, on Tuesday night in front of a sold out crowd. Reigning A-Sun Player of the Year Adnan Hodzic highlights a strong senior class for the Bisons. Hodzic leads the conference in both scoring at 19.3 points per game and rebounding at 8.0. Hodzic leads the league with 11 20-point games and has 24 career double-doubles. Fellow senior Josh Slater combines with Hodzic to give Lipscomb the top scoring tandem in the league at 35.6 points per game. Slater fills up the stat sheet to the tune of 16.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists. Slater's eight games with 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists are the most in the nation this season. The second-best scoring team in the A-Sun (76.7), Lipscomb is 13-1 when scoring 70+ points and 0-7 when it doesn't reach 70 points. The Bisons are 8-1 at Allen Arena this season.
Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS has been on a strict offensive rebounding diet, collecting a staggering 73 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 (3.8) by a full board per contest. 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.
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 (27th nationally) at a 5.5 clip. Rivera has led the team in assists 17 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. Rivera eclipsed the 100 assists mark, marking the seventh time in nine seasons a player has accomplished the feat.
With 27 threes in his last seven games, freshman CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is climbing up the A-Sun ranks in three-pointers per game and sits third at a 2.53 per game clip. Out of Varidel's 60 made field goals on season, 48 have come from beyond the arc. Varidel has made three or more trifectas in a game 10 times, including seven straight games. Validating his shooting prowess, Varidel ranks fourth in the conference in three-point field goal percentage at 39.7.
TAKE IT TO THE BANKS
The versatility of ANTHONY BANKS is on full display again this season. Banks leads the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game while also leading in rebounding (6.5) and offensive rebounds (73). Banks has led the team in scoring eight times, rebounding eight times and both in the same game on six occasions. He's reached double figures in a team-best 17 games while accumulating four double-doubles and four 20-point outings.
FINDING HIS MARK
No FGCU player has been hotter than freshman CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL over the last seven games. Coming off a 29-point performance at Stetson, Varidel is averaging 16.7 points per game over the last seven contests on the strength of 27 three-pointers. The Versoix, Switzerland product has reached double figures in all seven games, leading the team in scoring five times. Even more impressive, Varidel is averaging 18.6 points since being inserted back into the starting lineup five games ago.