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Thompson Leads FGCU to First Road Win at Kennesaw State
|Florida Gulf Coast||25||37||62|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||KSU|
|FG Percentage||.463 (19-41)||.455 (20-44)|
|3P FG Percentage||.429 (9-21)||.381 (8-21)|
|FT Percentage||.625 (15-24)||.538 (7-13)|
Anderson - 17
CANTINOL - 5
Love - 1
Henry - 1
Anderson - 1
Dawson - 1
KENNESAW, Ga. – Behind a season-high 22 points, including 18 in the second half, from freshman Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) in his home state of Georgia, the FGCU men’s basketball team picked up its first road win of the season with a 62-55 Atlantic Sun victory at Kennesaw State on Wednesday night at the KSU Convocation Center.
The win was the third in four games for the Eagles, who improved to 6-8 on the season and evened their A-Sun mark at 2-2. FGCU also snapped a seven-game road losing streak to start the year, suffering a trio of one-point defeats at TCU, SMU and Nebraska.
“This was a big win for us not only because we needed a road victory, but also because we needed to rebound from a bad performance at Mercer Monday night,” said head coach Andy Enfield. “We were sloppy in the first half, but we made some adjustments and the effort was there on both ends of the court in the second half.”
Thompson knocked down 5-of-6 from long range and made four clutch free throws down the stretch en route to his 22 points, which are the most scored by an FGCU player this season. The reigning A-Sun Newcomer of the Week, Thompson’s team-high 11th double figure outing and first career 20-point game came in front of a large crowd of family and friends.
With FGCU holding a 54-51 lead and the ball with 1:09 left, Kennesaw State opted to foul, putting Thompson at the free throw line where the Eagles had hit 7-of-16 up to that point. Thompson calmly sank both and then extended his steal streak to 12 games on the next defensive possession to give the ball back to the Eagles.
Thompson was promptly fouled after making the steal, sinking both free throws again to push the FGCU lead to 58-51 with 56 seconds remaining. The Owls were able to draw within five on a couple occasions down the stretch, but sophomore Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) knocked down four straight free throws to seal the Green and Blue’s first-ever win at Kennesaw State.
Redshirt junior Eddie Murray (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) was the only other Eagle to finish in double figures with a career-high 12 points. Entering the game second in the A-Sun in assists, freshman Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) passed out eight assists with just two turnovers.
As a team, FGCU shot 46 percent (19-41) from the field and knocked down 9-of-21 from three-point land in a slow paced game that saw both teams work the shot clock. The game featured just 50 rebounds, as the Eagles held a slight 26-24 edge on the boards. Kennesaw State finished with a 45 percent clip (20-44) from the floor, but had 17 turnovers and shot 11 less free throws than the Eagles.
The Eagles turned in a terrific defensive effort against A-Sun leading scorer Markeith Cummings who failed to score a point over the first 26:39 of the contest and finished with just five for the game. Senior Spencer Dixon and forward Aaron Anderson led three Owls in double figures with 17 points each.
FGCU will continue A-Sun play on Saturday when it hosts North Florida at Alico Arena. Gametime is slated for 5:15 p.m. and is the first part of a doubleheader with the women’s program.
FGCU snapped a four-game losing streak against the Owls … FGCU used the starting five of Comer, Thompson, Holmes, Fieler and Murray for the sixth straight game (3-3) … the Eagles made 6-of-13 from three in the second half and are 19th in the nation in three-point percentage (.400) on the year … the 55 points given up are the second-lowest total surrendered by the Eagles this season … Thompson is the third Eagle to score 20 points in a game this season … Thompson has a steal in 12 straight games, while his five threes were the second-most by an Eagle this year … Comer’s eight assists marked the fifth time he’s passed out at least seven helpers in a game … FGCU owned a 15-2 edge in bench points and has won the battle off the pine in 11 of 14 games.