Seeding at Stake; FGCU Closes Out Regular Season at ETSU
Saturday, February 25, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson (@pierson_sid)
FGCU (13-16, 8-10 ASun)
ETSU (16-13, 10-8 ASun)
2/25/2012 | MSHA Athletic Center (Johnson City, TN) | Attendance: 3346
Stats at a GlanceFGCUETSU
FG Percentage.448 (26-58) .509 (29-57)
3P FG Percentage.333 (10-30) .538 (7-13)
FT Percentage.563 (9-16) .543 (19-35)
Offensive Rebounds1414
Defensive Rebounds2221
Total Rebounds3635
Bench Points274
Statistical LeadersFGCUETSU
PointsTHOMPSON - 14
ReboundsTHOMPSON - 8
AssistsCOMER - 6
StealsBROWN - 4
BlocksFIELER - 2

FGCU (13-15, 8-9 A-SUN) at ETSU (15-13, 9-8 A-SUN)
DATE: Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012
CITY: Johnson City, Tenn.
SITE: Athletic Center (6,500))
TIP-OFF: 4:00 p.m. ET
TALENT: Matt Stewart (P-B-P)
Sonny Smith (Analyst)
TWITTER: @fgcueagles/#FGCU
SERIES: ETSU leads, 6-2
LAST MEETING: @FGCU 72, ETSU 63 - Dec. 3, 2011

FGCU will close out the regular season on Saturday when it takes on ETSU at the MSHA Athletic Center. The game can be seen live on with Matt Stewart (P-B-P) and Sonny Smith (Analyst) on the call. Neither team can be lower than the No. 6 seed, as FGCU will attempt to complete the season sweep of the Bucs after taking the first meeting this year, 72-63, in Fort Myers on Dec. 3 in the conference opener for both clubs. If FGCU wins and North Florida defeats Jacksonville Friday night, the Eagles will be the No. 5 seed due to owning the tie-breaker over the Bucs. With a loss, FGCU will be the No. 6 seed in its first-ever A-Sun Tournament.

FGCU snapped a five-game losing streak against ETSU earlier in the season behind 20 points from junior SHERWOOD BROWN. The Eagles will now will look for their first win in Johnson City and fourth season sweep of an A-Sun team this year. ETSU has had its way with the Eagles in Johnson City, winning all three meetings by an average of 21.7 points.

One of just two players in the Atlantic Sun that ranks in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding, junior SHERWOOD BROWN has upped his game since being inserted back into the starting lineup 10 games ago. Over the last 10 games, Brown has reached double figures nine times with a trio of 20-point efforts and a pair of double-doubles. The Orlando product's 14.7 points and 7.1 rebounds over the 10 games have put him into 10th in the A-Sun in scoring (12.9) and eighth in rebounding (6.0).

Seeds 4-6 in next week's Atlantic Sun Tournament are still yet to be decided, as North Florida, ETSU and FGCU are competing for those spots. Below is a look at the possible outcomes of the weekend's games.

• If FGCU defeats ETSU and North Florida defeats Jacksonville
SEEDING: No. 4 UNF, No. 5 FGCU, No. 6 ETSU
• If FGCU defeats ETSU and Jacksonville defeats UNF
SEEDING: No. 4 ETSU, No. 5 UNF, No. 6 FGCU
• If ETSU defeats FGCU and North Florida defeats Jacksonville
SEEDING: No. 4 ETSU, No. 5 UNF, No. 6 FGCU
• If ETSU defeats FGCU and Jacksonville defeats North Florida
SEEDING: No. 4 ETSU, No. 5 UNF, No. 6 FGCU

ETSU enters on a two-game A-Sun win streak and is just hours removed from a convincing win over Stetson at the MSHA Athletic Center. The Bucs are 9-3 at home this season and 3-0 all-time against FGCU in Johnson City, Tenn. Senior Adam Sollazzo is the only player in the A-Sun that ranks in the top five in scoring (4th) and assists (3rd) with averages of 14.8 and 4.3, respectively. Sollazzo also hauls in 5.5 rebounds per contest to also make him the lone player in the league in the top 15 in scoring, rebounding and assists. Preseason All-Conference forward Isiah Brown, who along with Sollazzo and Tommy Hubbard will be honored prior to the game, is second on the squad in scoring (12.1), while posting 6.1 rebounds per game and a team-best 40 blocks. Hubbard, who missed Thursday's win over Stetson due to a concussion, is fourth in the A-Sun in rebounding (7.1) from the guard position, while also contributing 9.7 points. ETSU is the second-best defensive team in the A-Sun based on scoring defense (64.7) and has held its opponent under 60 points in its last five A-Sun victories.

Freshmen BERNARD THOMPSON and BRETT COMER are both making strong cases for A-Sun Freshman of the Year. Thompson leads all A-Sun rookies in rebounding (5.1) and steals (1.9), while ranking second in scoring (11.8) - figures that are all in the top 20 in the A-Sun. Comer leads the entire league in assists (5.6) and is fifth among A-Sun freshman in scoring (9.1). A product of Conyers, Ga., Thompson has led FGCU in scoring nine times thanks to a team-best 20 double figure outings, while Comer has been the team leader in assists in all but three contests. Both have been named A-Sun Newcomer of the Week on one occasion.

Freshmen BRETT COMER and BERNARD THOMPSON each recorded a double-double against Stetson on Feb. 17, becoming the first pair of FGCU players to finish with a double-double in the same game since Nov. 27, 2007, - a streak of 141 games - when Landon Adler and Terike Barrowes accomplished the feat against Maryland Eastern Shore. Comer and Thompson combined for 28 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists, as Comer's double-double featured points/assists (11/10), while Thompson's was of the points/rebounds (17/12) variety. Both Comer and Thompson have two double-doubles on the season, while the only other A-Sun freshman with one is Lipscomb's Malcolm Smith.

Named the A-Sun Player of the Week on Jan. 31, junior SHERWOOD BROWN leads the team in both scoring (12.9) and rebounding (6.0) - figures that rank 10th and eighth in the A-Sun. With team-bests of four 20-point games and three double-doubles, Brown has reached double figures 17 times in 24 contests and also ranks 15th in the A-Sun with a 49.2 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.

Highlighted by a program Division I record 64.7 percent shooting night (33-51) at Stetson on Jan. 20, FGCU is third in the A-Sun in field goal percentage (.461) and first in three-point percentage (.379). The Eagles have been held below 40 percent in a game just six times (0-6), including three of the last four, while going 8-1 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 46.1 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 36th nationally in assists per game (5.6). Highlighted by his 12-assist night against Longwood, Comer is the first A-Sun player since 2007 to have four double figure assist games in the same season. He has led the team in assists in all but three games and has passed out seven or more helpers 10 times. His 156 assists on the season rank seventh in single-season history, while he is trying to become the first freshman to lead the league in assists since Mercer's James Florence did so in 2006-07.

A season-best six players reached double figures for the second time this year in FGCU's win over Lipscomb, while at least five players have done so in eight times (8-0), and the Eagles are 9-3 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 five have done so at least 10 times. Six different have led the team in scoring at least once.

Tops in the A-Sun at a 37.9 percent clip from three-point range as a team, four different Eagles rank in the top 10 individually. Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is second in the conference, shooting 46 percent (56-123), while freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN is third (.437). freshman Bernard Thompson is tied for seventh (.395) and junior SHERWOOD BROWN (.371) is 10th.

FGCU averages 28.7 points per game off the bench. The bench has supplied a double figure scorer in 23 games, including the team's leading scorer on 11 occasions, while scoring 25+ points 19 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. 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 22 of 27 games.

Sophomore CHASE FIELER has reached double-digits 10 times this season compared to five through all of last year, and is averaging 7.0 points and 4.7 rebounds. Against Maine, Fieler hauled down a career-high 11 rebounds to go with 11 points for his first double-double, and had a career-high 15 points against Kennesaw State. Fieler leads the team with 29 blocks and is second on the squad with 40 offensive boards.

FGCU's freshmen class has wasted little time making an impact, accounting for 48 percent of the scoring (35.1), 36 percent of the rebounds (12.6) and 65 percent of the assists (8.9). At least one of the four freshmen has scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games, while the Eagles are 8-1 when three members of the quartet accomplish the feat. Led by combo guard BERNARD THOMPSON'S 11.8 points per game, freshmen account for three the Green and Blue's top five scorers. Against Kennesaw State and Stetson, four freshmen reached double figures - the most in a single game in program history.

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 second in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.455) and is ninth in the A-Sun in threes per game (2.0). The Versoix, Switzerland native has made three or more treys in a game 11 times this season.

Aside from being the league's second-leading freshmen scorer (11.8), BERNARD THOMPSON has used is long 6-foot-3 frame to his benefit on the defensive end. Behind 20 multi-steal performances, Thompson ranks third in the A-Sun at 1.9 thefts per game. Thompson is on pace for 56 steals, a mark that would finish top five in single-season history. As a team, FGCU ranks second in the A-Sun and 39th in the country in steals (8.2). The Eagles have scored 20+ points off opponent turnovers seven times this season.