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Defense, Freshmen Kick-Start Big Second Half Push Past Prairie View, 68-59
|Prairie View A&M||34||25||59|
|Florida Gulf Coast||30||38||68|
|Stats at a Glance||PVAMMBB||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.333 (22-66)||.404 (21-52)|
|3P FG Percentage||.300 (9-30)||.412 (7-17)|
|FT Percentage||.750 (6-8)||.704 (19-27)|
TEAM - 7
BROWN - 1
CANTINOL - 1
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Led by freshman Brett Comer’s (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) first career double-double and a strong second half defensive effort, the FGCU men’s basketball team picked up its second straight win with a 68-59 victory against Prairie View A&M on Thursday night at Alico Arena.
For the third straight game, Comer reached double figure points in the second half alone, sparking a 12-2 run that turned a 39-33 Panther lead with 18:15 on the clock into a 45-41 FGCU advantage that it would never relinquish. Comer accounted for four points during the run and assisted on both three-pointers by classmate Filip Cvjeticanin (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) and sophomore Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy).
The Eagles held a five-point lead, 59-54, with just under three minutes to play, before putting the game away with eight straight points that gave the home team its largest lead of the game (13), 67-54, and its second home win in four days.
FGCU outscored Prairie View A&M 38-25 and limited the Panthers to just 8-of-36 from the field over the final 20 minutes en route to improving to 2-1 under first-year head coach Andy Enfield. The loss is the first of the season for Prairie View (2-1).
A trio of freshmen led FGCU in scoring with Comer’s double-double coming on 15 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals over 35 minutes of action. Comer did a majority of his damage in the second half comeback, scoring 11 points and while dishing out six assists. Freshman Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) contributed 13 points, while Cvjeticanin was perfect from the field, going 3-of-3, including two from long range, to add 10 points off the bench.
The Green and Blue also got solid minutes off the bench from Fort Myers product Eddie Murray (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS), who provided energy to the tune of nine points and seven rebounds. Murray along with junior Sherwood Brown’s (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) game-high eight rebounds and sophomore Chase Fieler’s (Parkersburg, W.Va./Parkersburg South HS) seven caroms helped FGCU hold a 42-39 edge on the glass.
Prairie View was led by the guard tandem of Luis Munks and Jourdan Demuynck, who combined for 33 of the squad’s 59 points. Munks led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-12 from long range.
Neither team could muster more than a two-possession lead in the first half, as the opening 20 minutes featured four lead changes and six ties.
The story of the first half was the shooting of Prairie View who came into the game averaging just four three-pointers per game at a 24 percent clip. The Panthers knocked down their first four three-pointers of contest and 6-of-12 in the opening period to take a 34-30 lead into the break.
After Prairie View’s seventh three-pointer of the game early in the second half gave the visitors a 39-33 with 18:15 to play, the FGCU defense and Comer kick-started the comeback.
The Green and Blue limited the Panthers to just 6-of-32 from the field and 20 points over the final 18 minutes of the game. FGCU shot nearly 50 percent (11-23) over the same span and committed just six turnovers compared to 10 in the first half.
A major difference in the game came at the free throw line where the Eagles knocked down 19-of-27 compared to just eight attempts for Prairie View. For the game, the Green and Blue shot 40 percent (21-52) and a solid 41 percent (7-17) from long range.
FGCU will be back in action in just 40 hours when it heads to Dallas, Texas for the second time in eight days. The Eagles will take on Conference USA foe SMU (1-2) on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.