UNF Completes Comeback With 88-81 Overtime Win Over FGCU
Saturday, January 07, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson @pierson_sid
Comer had a season-high 19 points and six assists. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Comer had a season-high 19 points and six assists. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
North Florida (9-8, 3-1 A-SUN)
Florida Gulf Coast (6-9, 2-3 A-SUN)
1/7/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. (Alico Arena) | Attendance: 2017
1st2nd1OT Final
North Florida28491188
Florida Gulf Coast4532481
Stats at a GlanceUNFFGCU
FG Percentage.509 (29-57) .477 (31-65)
3P FG Percentage.375 (9-24) .320 (8-25)
FT Percentage.778 (21-27) .611 (11-18)
Offensive Rebounds810
Defensive Rebounds2823
Total Rebounds3633
Bench Points4826
Statistical LeadersUNFFGCU
PointsSMITH - 23
COMER - 19
ReboundsDIAZ - 8
AssistsSMITH - 6
StealsWILLIAMS - 2
BlocksFIELER - 1

FORT MYERS, Fla. – After overcoming a 21-point deficit in regulation, North Florida opened the overtime period with the first six points en route to closing out an 88-81 comeback win over the FGCU men’s basketball team on Saturday evening in front of 2,017 fans at Alico Arena.

The loss dips FGCU’s record to 6-9 on the season and 2-3 in the Atlantic Sun, while the Ospreys have won four of their last five to improve to 9-8 overall and 3-1 in the conference.

The Eagles led by 21, 44-23, with under two minutes to play in the first half and took a 45-28 lead into the locker at the break after shooting 57 percent (17-30) from the field and turning 10 UNF turnovers into 21 points.

UNF took a page out of FGCU’s book from the first half, coming all the way back in the second half on the same type of formula. The Osprey’s used a 17-of-27 shooting performance from the field in the final frame, while forcing the Eagles into 10 turnovers to cut it to a two-point game, 73-71 with less than four minutes to play.

Junior Parker Smith gave the Ospreys their first lead since the opening possession of the contest with his fourth three-pointer of the game to make it 74-73 at the 3:02 mark, but the lead changed hands twice more with a layup by FGCU’s Eddie Murray (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) followed by a three-pointer by UNF’s Jerron Granberry that resulted in a 77-75 advantage for the visitors.

Both teams went consecutive possessions without producing any points until freshmen point guard Brett Comer’s (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) layup plus the foul with 32 seconds left gave the Eagles a chance to take the lead. Tied at 77-77, Comer missed the free throw, but classmate Dante Holmes (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances Academy/Oldsmar Christian) grabbed the offensive rebound and promptly called timeout.

With the shot clock turned off, the Eagles held for the final shot, getting the ball inside to guard Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS), who was stripped trying to make a move and lost the ball as the buzzer sounded.

UNF wasted little time taking the lead in overtime, scoring the opening six points while holding the Eagles scoreless on their first six trips on the offensive end to take a 83-77 lead with 2:12 left in the extra frame.

A layup by Comer broke the overtime ice for FGCU to make it 85-81, but the Eagles could only muster two more points the rest of the extra period before falling by the final outcome.

Comer led the way for the Eagles with a season-high 19 points, six assists and five rebounds over a team-high 38 minutes. Murray established a new career-high for the second straight game, scoring 13 points to go along with a team-high six rebounds. All 10 of freshman Filip Cvjeticanin’s (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) 10 points came in the first half.

Smith and Granberry each reached the 20-point plateau for the Ospreys, contributing 23 points and 21 points, respectively. The duo combined to go 8-of-20 from three-point land. Smith’s 23 came off the bench and went with six assists, while Granberry made a trio of threes, but also went 10-of-11 from the free throw line with a game-high seven rebounds. Behind Smith’s 23 and Travis Wallace’s 13 points led UNF to a 48-26 edge in bench points, a figure that FGCU has outscored its opponents by 7.6 points per game.

FGCU shot a solid 48 percent (31-65) from the field, but was an uncharacteristic 32 percent (8-25) from three-point land. On the flipside, UNF used the 63 percent clip in the second half to shoot 51 percent (29-57) for the game. The Ospreys held a 10-point edge in points at the free throw line, going 21-of-27 while the Eagles were 11-of-18.

After a UNF bucket on the opening possession of the game, FGCU rattled off the next 11 points and went on a 20-5 run to take a 13-point lead, 20-7, by the 13:20 mark. The Eagles came out of the gates clicking on all cylinders, knocking down seven of their first nine from the field, including 4-of-5 from long range. Sophomore Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) started the run with back-to-back threes, while freshman Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) and Holmes also added three-pointers.

UNF cut the FGCU lead to six on a trio of occasions with the last coming at the 6:46 mark, at 27-21. Behind eight straight points from Cvjeticanin, the Eagles opened their largest lead of the season (21), 44-23, with a 17-2 run that brought the Alico Arena crowd to its feet and forced a UNF timeout. FGCU turned four Osprey turnovers into 10 points, while Cvjeticanin’s two straight threes that forced the timeout came off of offensive rebounds.

FGCU took a season-best 17-point lead, 45-28, into the locker room after shooting 57 percent (17-30) from the field in the opening 20 minutes. A key stat to the Green and Blue’s fast first half start was converting 10 UNF turnovers into 21 points.

Brown, Fieler and Thompson added eight points each for FGCU, while Holmes finished with seven. Entering the game second in the A-Sun in steals, Thompson extended his steals streak to 13 games with a season-high four thefts. Brown tied for the team-high with six rebounds, including three offensive.

FGCU will be back in action on Monday night when it closes its two-game A-Sun homestand against Jacksonville. Tip-off at Alico Arena is slated for 7:30 p.m. and is the second part of a doubleheader with the women’s program.