FGCU (6-16, 3-10) at Kennesaw State (6-17, 4-9)
DATE: Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011
CITY: Kennesaw, Ga.
SITE: KSU Convocation Center (4,800)
TIP-OFF: 7:30 p.m. ET
LIVE AUDIO: www.KSUOWLS.com
LIVE STATS: www.KSUOWLS.com
LIVE VIDEO: A-Sun.
TV SERIES: Kennesaw State leads, 5-2
LAST MEETING: Kennesaw State 81, FGCU 70 - Jan. 14, 2011
LAST GAME: FGCU 70, USC Upstate 38 - Feb. 6
LAST FIVE GAMES: 2-3
AT A GLANCE
FGCU begins its six-day, three-game road swing on Thursday evening when it looks to avenge its home loss in January to Kennesaw State. The Eagles posted the largest margin of victory in the program's Division I history this past Sunday, defeating USC Upstate 70-38 behind four players in double figures. The Owls, who are one game ahead of the Blue and Green in the A-Sun standings, snapped a five-game losing skid on Monday at the KSU Convocation Center with a win over Campbell. A victory would give FGCU its first win streak in the month of February since in joined Division I in 2007-08
Close games have been a staple in the seven 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 5-2 margin and is a perfect 3-0 at home against the Eagles.
The second half of the season has been a youth movement for the Eagles, as underclassmen have led the team in scoring the last nine games and 11 of out the last 12. The freshmen combo of CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL and CHASE FIELER has been the catalyst, combining to average 28.0 points over the last six games. In three of those games they've hit for over 30 points between them while leading the team in scoring all six games. Fieler hit for a season-best 17 points on five threes last game against USC Upstate, while Varidel went for a team season-best 29 points at Stetson during the run.
SCOUTING THE OWLS
Fresh off a 78-64 win over Campbell on Monday night, Kennesaw State is in the midst of a three-game homestand. The Owls are 6-17 on the season and 4-9 in the A-Sun. Prior to its win over Campbell, Kennesaw had dropped four straight at home after starting 4-2 at the Convocation Center, including a win over ACC foe Georgia Tech. The Owls are led by the league’s second-best scoring tandem in sophomore Markeith Cummings and Spencer Dixon. The reigning A-Sun Player of the Week, Cummings is coming off a 31-point performance against Campbell. Cummings, who averages 19.3 points over three games against FGCU, is second in the A-Sun in scoring at 17.9 points per game. Dixon ranks 10th in the league scoring race at 13.7 points per game and sits sixth in assists per contests (3.6). The sophomore big man combo of LaDaris Green and Aaron Anderson are the only A-Sun duo to rank in the top 5 in rebounding. Green leads the league at a 7.8 per game clip, while scoring 9.2 points. Anderson chips in with 7.4 points and 7.1 rebounds - fourth in the A-Sun.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
FGCU HEAD COACH
@ FGCU: 149-116 (9th Season)
Overall: 184-165 (12th Season)
Atlantic Sun: 21-48 (4th Season)
Vs. Kennesaw State: 2-5
KENNESAW STATE HEAD COACH
@ KENNESAW: 176-159 (11th Season)
Overall: 246-209 (15th Season)
Atlantic Sun: 36-58 (6th Season)
Vs. FGCU: 5-2
Freshman CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is climbing up the A-Sun ranks in three-pointers per game and sits second at a 2.55 per game clip thanks to 10 straight games with multi-threes. Out of Varidel's 73 made field goals on season, 56 have come from beyond the arc. Varidel has made three or more trifectas in a game 12 times and is tied for sixth among all freshmen in three-pointers made. Validating his shooting prowess, Varidel ranks 10th in the conference in three-point field goal percentage at 38.1.
Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS has been on a strict offensive rebounding diet, collecting a staggering 81 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 (3.7) 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 10th in the A-Sun at 6.3 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 (31st nationally) at a 5.55 clip. Rivera has led the team in assists 20 times, highlighted by six 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 for the Eagles.
TAKE IT TO THE BANKS
The versatility of ANTHONY BANKS is on full display again this season. Banks leads the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game while also leading in rebounding (6.3) and offensive rebounds (81). 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 20 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 10 games. Highlighted by a 29-point performance at Stetson, Varidel is averaging 16.8 points per game over the last 10 contests on the strength of 35 three-pointers. The Versoix, Switzerland product has reached double figures in all 10 games, leading the team in scoring seven times.
After averaging 8.3 points over the first 15 games, freshman CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL has reached the double figure plateau by halftime in five of the last seven contests. Varidel's recent scoring surge has his season average up to 11.3 points per game, good for 18th in the A-Sun and third among league freshmen.
FREE THROW FREEBIES
Freshman CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL has made 33 of his last 34 attempts from the free throw line, including 14 in a row. Varidel's torrid shooting from the charity stripe has him third in the A-Sun at 83.1 percent (49-59).
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS
Just 51 games into his career, sophomore ANTHONY BANKS is FGCU's all-time leader in offensive rebounds with 181. Banks has twice tied the record for most offensive rebounds in a game with nine and owns the single-season record with 100 in 2009-10 as a freshman. At Stetson, he surpassed 300 career rebounds and currently sits in eighth place all-time (330).
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 second in the A-Sun in offensive rebounds per game (13.1). FGCU has grabbed double figure offensive boards in 45 of its last 52 games, including 18 this season. Banks is a year removed from grabbing 100 offensive caroms and has 181 for his career compared to 149 defensive rebounds.
FGCU has won the battle on the glass in seven straight games, highlighted by a +18 margin, 40-22, in a 70-38 win over USC Upstate. Over the seven-game span, the Eagles are averaging 39.6 boards, while limiting the opposition to 32.3.
The Eagles are 4-1 this season when four players reach double figures. It marked the fifth time this season that four FGCU players have reached double-digits in the same during the Blue and Green's 70-38 win over USC Upstate. The 32-point victory was the largest in the program’s Division I history. Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS has reached double figures in all five of the games.