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FGCU Clinches First Ever A-Sun Tournament Berth with Convincing Win over Lipscomb
|Florida Gulf Coast||39||50||89|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.397 (23-58)||.540 (34-63)|
|3P FG Percentage||.278 (5-18)||.478 (11-23)|
|FT Percentage||.548 (17-31)||.833 (10-12)|
MURRAY - 6
BROWN - 6
MURRAY - 2
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Behind six players in double figures, the FGCU men’s basketball team led for all but 15 seconds in a convincing 89-68 Atlantic Sun win over Lipscomb Monday night at Alico Arena. Eligible for postseason play for the first time in school history, the Eagles clinched a berth in the A-Sun Tournament with the victory.
FGCU moved into sole possession of fourth place in the tight A-Sun Conference standings at 8-7 with three regular season games remaining, while evening its overall record at 13-13. The Eagles are now a half-game ahead of Lipscomb, who slipped to 7-7 in league play.
“We were very sharp offensively tonight and that came from sharing the basketball,” said head coach Andy Enfield. “The last few games we haven’t been willing to make the extra pass and with a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio we obviously were willing tonight. We’re certainly happy that we were able to clinch the postseason berth, but we can’t be satisfied with just that.”
Balance has been the theme all season for the Green and Blue, as it marked the second time that six players have reached double figures in the same game, while the Eagles improved to 8-0 when at least five players accomplish the feat. FGCU was clicking on all cylinders on the offensive end, shooting 54 percent (34-63) for the game, while dishing out a season-high 24 assists to just 12 turnovers. Seven different players knocked down a three-pointer led by sophomore Christophe Varidel’s (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) 4-of-8 night, as the Eagles finished 11-of-23 as a team.
Junior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) led FGCU with his eighth straight double-digit outing that featured 13 points and six rebounds. Varidel scored all 12 of his points via the three-point shot, while redshirt junior Eddie Murray (North Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) and freshman Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) made it four starters in double-digits with 10 points and six rebounds each.
The final two double figure scorers came off the pine where by FGCU won the bench scoring battle for the 21st time this season by a 39-18 margin. Freshman Dante Holmes (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances/Oldsmar Christian) turned in an efficient 16 minutes with 11 points on 5-of-6 from the field and three assists, while freshman Filip Cvjeticanin (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) had all 10 of his points in the second half.
FGCU jumped out an 11-3 lead by the first media timeout, scoring nine consecutive points behind a three-pointer from sophomore Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) and a dunk in traffic by Brown.
Still holding a multiple possession lead at 25-18 with 9:06 on the clock, the Eagles were able to break the game wide open with a 12-0 run that absorbed just over three and a half minutes. Redshirt junior Ed Rolax (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg Catholic HS) sparked the big run with a three-pointer from left corner followed by a layup from Brown that made it 37-18 with 5:33 left in the half.
The Bison finished the opening frame on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 39-27 at the break, but were unable to come any closer than 10 in the second half. FGCU improved to 11-4 when leading at the half and held a double-digit lead over the final 28:09 of the contest.
Freshman Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) and Rolax nearly gave FGCU an unheard-of eight players in double figures with nine points and eight points, respectively. Comer also added a game-high six assists to his night, while Rolax established another season-best with four boards.
Lipscomb was led by freshman Malcolm Smith who had a game-high 19 points and five rebounds. The Eagles were able to hold the Bison under 40 percent from the field (23-58) for the game, limiting junior Deonte Alexander to 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting. Alexander was coming off a 27-point night at Stetson on Saturday.
FGCU will close out its home slate on Friday night against in-state rival Stetson in the A-Sun/CSS Friday Night Game of the Week on Feb. 17 at 7:05 p.m. The Eagles defeated Stetson in DeLand, 92-85, earlier in the year. The game will be televised on Comcast Sports South on channel 70 for Comcast subscribers in Southwest Florida.
The eighth A-Sun win is a program single-season record … FGCU is now 9-4 at Alico Arena this season … the Eagles moved to 8-1 when shooting better than 50 percent and 6-1 when finishing with a positive assist/turnover ratio … FGCU has shot 60 percent or better in the second half six times … the win also marked FGCU’s first season sweep of Lipscomb … a freshman has scored double figure points in 23 of 26 games while the Eagles are 8-0 when three rookies reach the plateau in the same game … Brown’s current eight game double figure scoring streak is the longest by an Eagle this season.