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GAME PREVIEW: FGCU Looks for Upset of Belmont On Saturday
|Florida Gulf Coast||32||31||63|
|Stats at a Glance||BEL||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.500 (30-60)||.379 (22-58)|
|3P FG Percentage||.385 (10-26)||.286 (6-21)|
|FT Percentage||.800 (16-20)||.591 (13-22)|
JENKINS - 5
BROWN - 6
MANN - 7
JOHNSON - 1
MOBLEY - 1
CLARK - 1
SAUNDERS - 1
HEDGEPETH - 1
THOMPSON - 1
BROWN - 1
HEDGEPETH - 1
BAKER - 1
BROWN - 2
FGCU (12-12, 7-6 A-SUN) vs. Belmont (18-7, 10-2 A-SUN)
DATE: Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012
CITY: Fort Myers, Fla.
SITE: Alico Arena (4,500)
TIP-OFF: 5:15 p.m. ET
LIVE AUDIO: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
TALENT: Tom James (Play-by-Play)
J. Webb Horton (Analyst)
LIVE STATS: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
CURRENT STREAK: L1
LAST 5 GAMES: 3-2
LAST 10 GAMES: 6-4
AT HOME: 8-3
SERIES: Belmont leads, 6-2
LAST MEETING: @Belmont 95, FGCU 53 – Jan. 16, 2012
AT A GLANCE
Currently in a tie for fourth place in the Atlantic Sun standings, FGCU begins a three-game homestand on Saturday night when it welcomes Belmont to Alico Arena. The Eagles will look to avenge a loss to the Bruins earlier in the season in Nashville, while improving on their 8-3 home record. The Green and Blue, who are in their fifth year in Division I and as a member of the A-Sun, can continue to add to their program record Division I win total, while setting a record for conference victories. A win combined with a Jacksonville loss would clinch FGCU's first-ever A-Sun Tournament berth. Belmont enters on a five-game win streak, but is just 6-6 on the road.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Junior SHERWOOD BROWN, the A-Sun Player of the Week on Jan. 31, is coming off a season-high 23 points and seven rebounds at North Florida on Monday night. Brown has reached double figures in six straight games, a span in which he is averaging team-bests of 16.4 points and 8.6 rebounds. The Orlando product is just one of two A-Sun players currently in the top 11 in scoring (12.8/11th) and rebounding (6.0/9th), joining USC Upstate's Torrey Craig.
Saturday's game will feature six of the A-Sun's top 11 individual three-pointer shooters when sorting by percentage. Belmont senior Drew Hanlen is second in the conference at 47 percent followed by FGCU's CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL in third (.462) and freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN in fourth (.451). As a team, the Eagles are second in the A-Sun and 34th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (.383). The Bruins are 18th in the country and tops in the conference at 8.4 threes per game.
Coming in at No. 19 in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll, the Bruins are also No. 88 in the RealTime RPI rankings. The reigning A-Sun regular season and tournament champ, Belmont is currently a half-game behind Mercer for first place. Behind four players in double figures and two more at 9.8 points per game, Belmont leads the A-Sun and ranks fifth in the nation in scoring at an 81.3 per game clip. The Bruins' offensive efficiency is boosted by its league-high 17.3 assists per game and league-low 12.4 turnovers. Junior point guard Kerron Johnson is fifth in the A-Sun in scoring (13.9), while ranking just behind FGCU point guard Brett Comer for the A-Sun lead in assists per game (5.2). The senior forward tandem of Scott Saunders (10.0/5.1) and Mick Hedgepeth (9.8/6.0) along with junior guard Ian Clark (11.7) were all named to the A-Sun Preseason All-Conference team.
LEADER OF THE PACK
Freshman BERNARD THOMPSON is making a strong case for A-Sun Freshman of the Year, leading all conference rookies in rebounding (4.8) and steals (2.0), while ranking second in scoring (11.6) - figures that are all in the top 20 in the A-Sun. The Conyers, Ga. product has led FGCU in scoring eight times thanks to a team-best 17 double figure outings that has him 15th overall in the A-Sun in scoring.
Highlighted by a program Division I record 64.7 percent shooting night (33-51) at Stetson, FGCU is second in the A-Sun in field goal percentage (.470) behind Belmont and second in three-point percentage (.383) - figures that rank 46th and 28th nationally in the latest rankings. The Eagles have been held below 40 percent in a game just three times, while going 7-1 when breaking the 50-percent plateau. FGCU shot 50 percent or better in three straight games (@Stetson, Longwood, Kennesaw State), a program Division I record and just the fourth time in the 10 years of the program it has been accomplished. The Green and Blue's current 47.0 field goal percentage is on pace to break the single-season record.
Freshman BRETT COMER leads the A-Sun, is second among all freshmen and 31st nationally in assists per game (5.7). Highlighted by his 12-assist night against Longwood, Comer is the first A-Sun player since 2007 to have three double figure assist games in the same season. Comer has led the team in assists in all but one game and has passed out seven or more helpers nine times. His 137 assists on the season rank seventh in single-season history.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU
Named the A-Sun Player of the Week on Jan. 31, junior SHERWOOD BROWN leads the team in both scoring (12.8) and rebounding (6.0) - figures that rank 11th and ninth in the A-Sun. With team-bests of three 20-point games and three double-doubles, Brown has reached double figures 14 times in 20 contests, including six straight, and also ranks 12th in the A-Sun with a 51.6 FG percentage. Brown is vying to become the third player in FGCU history to lead the team in scoring and rebounding in the same season.
A season-best six players reached double figures in FGCU's win over Longwood, while at least five players have done so in seven times (7-0), and the Eagles are 8-2 when four or more players reach double-digits in the same game. Freshman BRETT COMER'S 24 points at Stetson were the most by an Eagle this season as he became the fourth player to reach the 20 point plateau. A total of eight players have reached the double-digits this season, while six have led the team in scoring at least once.
WE'LL PICK YOU UP
Through 24 games, FGCU averages 28.0 points per game off the bench. The bench has supplied a double figure scorer in 20 games, including the team's leading scorer on 11 occasions, while scoring 25+ points 16 times as a unit. At SMU, sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL poured in 20 points on 6-of-7 from three-point land and turned in another 20-point game against Maine to account for the top two bench efforts. Looking further, the bench is shooting 47 percent from the field and 44 percent from three. Against Longwood, the bench produced 49 points for their third 40+ point night of the season. FGCU has won the battle of the benches in 19 of 24 games.
Sophomore CHASE FIELER has reached double-digits 10 times this season compared to five through all of last year, and is averaging 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds. Against Maine, Fieler hauled down a career-high 11 rebounds to go with 11 points for his first double-double, and is coming off a career-high 15 points against Kennesaw State. Fieler leads the team with 25 blocks - the eighth-best total in single-season history.
FGCU's freshmen class has wasted little time making an impact, accounting for 48 percent of the scoring (34.6), 36 percent of the rebounds (12.4) and 67 percent of the assists (8.8). At least one of the four freshmen has scored in double figures in 21 of 24 games, while the Eagles are 7-0 when three members of the quartet accomplish the feat. Led by combo guard BERNARD THOMPSON'S 11.6 points per game, freshmen account for three the Green and Blue's top five scorers. Against Kennesaw State, four freshmen reached double figures - the most in a single game in program history.
FIL-ING IT UP
Someone who is never at a loss for words, freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN has let his game do the talking as of late. The 6-foot-9 sharpshooting Croatian has reached double figures five times, highlighted by his 17-point night against Kennesaw State on 5-of-6 from three-point land. Cvjeticanin has made a three in 15 of the last 17 contests and is fourth in the A-Sun in three-point field goal percentage at 45.1 (37-82).
Second in the A-Sun at a 38.3 percent clip from three-point range as a team, four different Eagles rank in the top 10 individually. Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is third in the conference, shooting 46 percent, while freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN is fourth (.451), freshman BERNARD THOMPSON is seventh (.387).junior SHERWOOD BROWN (.381) is 10th.
Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL has found his stroke that helped him finish fifth in the nation among all freshmen in 2010-11 with 78 three-pointers. Varidel is third in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.469) and is 11th in the A-Sun in threes per game (1.9). The Versoix, Switzerland native has made three or more treys in a game eight times this season. He has also reached double-digits nine times, including two 20-point outings.
Aside from being the league's second-leading freshmen scorer (11.6), BERNARD THOMPSON has used is long 6-foot-3 frame to his benefit on the defensive end. Behind 19 multi-steal performances, Thompson ranks third in the A-Sun at 2.0 thefts per game. Thompson is on pace for 60 steals, a mark that would finish top five in single-season history. Behind nine steals in his last three games, fellow freshman BRETT COMER has moved into the top 15 in the A-Sun (1.4/11th). As a team, FGCU ranks third in the A-Sun and 28th in the country (8.5).
Coming off a season in which he played just 84 total minutes, redshirt junior EDDIE MURRAY is thriving under the guidance of first-year head coach ANDY ENFIELD. Armed with athleticism and leadership, Murray is providing a youthful roster with career-highs of 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. The Fort Myers product produced his first career double-double against Toledo, going for 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds over 36 minutes. Murray is shooting 61 percent (61-100) from the floor over 22.8 minutes per game. Murray has surpassed all the totals he put up through two full seasons in just 24 games this year.