FGCU Ready Sunday Night ESPNU Showdown at No. 9 Duke
Sunday, November 18, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson (@Pierson_SID)
Thompson's 15.0 points per game rank sixth in the A-Sun. (Photo by J. Meric)
Thompson's 15.0 points per game rank sixth in the A-Sun. (Photo by J. Meric)
Florida Gulf Coast (2-2)
Duke (3-0)
11/18/2012 | Durham, N.C. (Cameron Indoor Stadium) | Attendance: 9314
Florida Gulf Coast303767
Stats at a GlanceFGCUDU
FG Percentage.404 (23-57) .476 (30-63)
3P FG Percentage.440 (11-25) .290 (9-31)
FT Percentage.909 (10-11) .826 (19-23)
Offensive Rebounds1316
Defensive Rebounds2021
Total Rebounds3337
Bench Points209
Statistical LeadersFGCUDU
PointsTHOMPSON - 24
Mason Plumlee - 28
ReboundsTHOMPSON - 6
Mason Plumlee - 9
Ryan Kelly - 9
AssistsCOMER - 3
Quinn Cook - 9
StealsTHOMPSON - 5
Tyler Thornton - 2
Amile Jefferson - 2
Ryan Kelly - 2
BlocksMCKNIGHT - 1
Mason Plumlee - 2
Amile Jefferson - 2

FGCU (2-1) at No. 9 Duke (2-0)
Date: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Time: 8:05 p.m.
City: Durham, N.C.
Site: Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)
Channel: Comcast (Ch. 735), DirecTV (Ch. 208)
Talent: Tom Hart (P-B-P) & Adrian Branch (Analyst)
Online Video: WatchESPN.com
Online Audio Only: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
Talent: Tom James (P-B-P)
Live Stats: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
Twitter: @FGCU_MBB
Twitter Hashtags: #FGCUvsDUKE/#ASUNMBB/#FGCU
Current Streak: W2
Vs. Duke: First Meeting
Vs. The ACC: 1-4

Coming off a pair of home wins, including a 63-51 win over ACC foe Miami, FGCU carries a 2-1 record into Sunday night’s meeting with No. 9 Duke at historic Cameron Indoor Stadium. The game, which is part of the Battle 4 Atlantis, will be nationally televised on ESPNU with Tom Hart and Adrian Branch on the call. The Eagles will be taking the court against a team that is at least receiving votes in one of the national polls for the third time this season, while it will be in search of its first-ever win over a ranked opponent. Duke enters Sunday on a 95-game non-conference home win streak, matching the longest streak in program history.

Behind a 40-14 edge in points in the paint and a 21-3 game-changing run in the middle of the first half, FGCU erased an early 10-point deficit en route to a 63-51 win over Miami last Tuesday. • The win was the Eagles’ first over an ACC school, as the Hurricanes received nine votes in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 poll. • FGCU made its living in the paint, attacking the taller Miami lineup to the tune of 40 points inside on a series of layups and six total dunks. Making his debut in front of the FGCU faithful, sophomore ERIC MCKNIGHT had team-highs of 14 points and eight rebounds, out-dueling Miami center Reggie Johnson, who went 2-for-8 from the field for six points. • Joining McKnight in double figures was senior SHERWOOD BROWN and sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON, who had 14 and 13 points, respectively. Brown finished 7-of-15 from the field and paired his 14 points with seven rebounds, while Thompson had nine of his 13 in the second half and had a game-high four steals.

No. 9 Duke enters Sunday’s contest with a 2-0 record as it is coming off an impressive 75-68 win over No. 3 Kentucky in the State Farm Champions Classic on Nov. 13 in Atlanta, Ga. Led by legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils were picked to finish second in the ACC Preseason Coaches & Media Polls, returning four starters from a team that went 27-7 and qualified for their 17th straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Duke is led by the senior trio of Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee, who are the team’s top three scorers at a combined 46.5 points per game. Both Curry and Plumlee were named to the Preseason Wooden Award Watch List. Curry is coming off a 23-point night against Kentucky and leads the team at 19.0 points per game. Plumlee registered his 19th career double-double in the opener against Georgia State and averages 18.5 points and 8.5 boards per contest. The Blue Devils have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 98 straight weeks, the longest current streak in the nation.

FGCU’s win over Miami on Tuesday night in front of a school record sellout crowd of 4,552 fans was the Eagles’ first over an ACC opponent. The Eagles are 1-4 all-time against current ACC teams and for the second straight year will take on a pair of schools from the conference.

No stranger to the ACC, FGCU head coach ANDY ENFIELD spent five years on coach Leonard Hamilton’s staff at Florida State prior to coming to Southwest Florida. Enfield was an assistant on the FSU club that left Cameron Indoor Stadium victorious with a 68-67 win over Duke on February 4, 2007.

Sunday could have been a reunion for each team’s starting point guard, as FGCU floor general BRETT COMER and former ACC All-Freshmen team and current New Orleans Hornets guard Austin Rivers played together for three years at Winter Park High School. The duo led Winter Park to back-to-back Florida Class 6A State Championships in 2010 and 2011.

A CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major All-American a year ago, sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON leads FGCU and ranks sixth in the A-Sun in scoring at 15.0 points per game. Thompson opened his second season with a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds at VCU that included 15 points in the second half.

Senior SHERWOOD BROWN and sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON give FGCU one of the top backcourts in the Atlantic Sun. The duo is averaging a combined 29.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, ranking sixth and seventh, respectively, in the A-Sun in scoring. Both have reached double figures in all three games.

Redshirt sophomore ERIC MCKNIGHT sat out the 2011-12 after transferring to FGCU from Iowa State and is off to a strong start in the Green and Blue. McKnight has been solid on both ends of the court, averaging 8.3 points, a team-best 6.3 rebounds and an A-Sun leading 2.3 blocks per game. The 6-foot-9 bouncy forward with a 7-foot-2 wingspan posted team-bests of 14 points and eight rebounds in the win over Miami.

After a tough opening night at VCU against its “Havoc” defense, FGCU point guards BRETT COMER and DAJUAN GRAF have put together strong back-to-back performances. The duo dished out nine assists with no turnovers against Miami and nine assists against Ave Maria. Comer, a 2011-12 A-Sun All-Freshmen team choice, had arguably the best game of his career against the Hurricanes with six points, seven rebounds, eight assists and no turnovers. Graf, a freshman from Charlotte, ranks fourth in the A-Sun with a +2.5 assist/turnover ratio and had nine points and seven assists against Ave Maria.

FGCU is armed with a long and athletic lineup that has been aggressive at the rim over the past two games. Led by 40 against Miami, the Eagles have 77 points in the paint over the past two games, including 11 dunks.

Player - Dunks
Chase Fieler - 4
Eric McKnight - 4
Leonard Livingston - 2
Eddie Murray - 1

Sophomore guard BERNARD THOMPSON has been a menace on the defensive end his entire career and that trend has continued into the 2012-13 season. Thompson is second in the Atlantic Sun in steals per game at 2.7 and already has nine games in his career in which he has recorded three or more steals. Last season, Thompson ranked 10th among all freshmen with 1.8 steals per game.

Sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON, who has earned the nickname “Smooth” from his teammates, became the first Eagle to score 20 points in a season opener since FGCU transitioned to Division I in 2007-08 as he put up 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field at VCU, including 15 points in the second half. Thompson joins Robinson Tisme and Ryan Hopkins as the only three players in program history to score 20 or more points in a season opener.

Just a year ago, head coach ANDY ENFIELD took over a program that was in its 10th year of existence, including fifth in Division I, and was embarking on its first postseason eligible campaign with five new players and six returners who had a combined 14 years of collegiate experience.

Now, the Green and Blue’s eligible 12-man roster that doesn’t include Marquette transfer JAMAIL JONES and Georgia Tech transfer NATE HICKS, who have to sit out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA four-year transfer rules, returns 85 percent of its scoring (61.2 ppg), 76 percent of its rebounding (26.8 rpg) and 92 percent of its assists (12.2) from the 2011-12 squad that won a program Division I record 15 games and became just the sixth team in the 33-year history of the A-Sun Tournament to advance to the title game in its first try.

FGCU’s run to the 2012 Atlantic Sun championship game may have caught people by surprise, but the Eagles won’t sneak up on anyone this year. The Green and Blue and have been picked as high as second in an preseason A-Sun poll and have been no lower than third in any of the national preseason publications. Below is a look at the preseason predictions for FGCU.

A-Sun Preseason Ranking
Outlet - Rank
A-Sun Coaches - 3rd
A-Sun Media 3rd
Athlon Sports 3rd
Blue Ribbon 3rd
Lindy’s Sports 3rd
YAHOO! Sports 2nd

Notes: Blue Ribbon rated FGCU’s backcourt as the second-best in the A-Sun, earning an “A-” grade. The Eagles earned a “B+” in intangibles, and a “B” in both frontcourt and bench/depth.

Individual Preseason Honors
Sr. Sherwood Brown
• A-Sun All-Conference team
• Lindy’s Sports All-Conference first team
• College Sports Madness first team

So. Bernard Thompson
• College Sports Madness third team

So. Eric McKnight
• College Sports Madness third team
• Lindy’s Sports - Player to Keep an Eye On