Men's Basketball Ready to Ring in the New Year With Big A-Sun Showdown at Mercer
Tuesday, January 01, 2013 | by Patrick Pierson (@Pierson_SID)
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Cvjeticanin is 6-of-13 from three-point range in the last two games.
Cvjeticanin is 6-of-13 from three-point range in the last two games.
Florida Gulf Coast (9-6 (1-1 A-Sun))
at
Mercer (9-6 (2-0 A-Sun))
1/2/2013 | Macon, Ga. - Hawkins Arena | Attendance: 2742
1st2nd1OT Final
Florida Gulf Coast3032870
Mercer28341577
Stats at a GlanceFGCUMER
FG Percentage.410 (25-61) .397 (25-63)
3P FG Percentage.360 (9-25) .355 (11-31)
FT Percentage.733 (11-15) .889 (16-18)
Offensive Rebounds1513
Defensive Rebounds2320
Total Rebounds3833
Turnovers1611
Steals68
Bench Points1912
Statistical LeadersFGCUMER
PointsFIELER - 17
SMITH - 21
ReboundsTHOMPSON - 7
HALL - 7
AssistsCOMER - 3
HALL - 5
StealsTHOMPSON - 3
GOLLON - 3
HALL - 3
BlocksMCKNIGHT - 3
COURSEY - 3

FGCU (9-5, 1-0 A-Sun) at Mercer (8-6, 1-0 A-Sun)
Coaching Matchup: Andy Enfield (24-22; 2nd Season) vs. Bob Hoffman (83-67; 5th Season)
Date: Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Time: 7:30 P.M. EST
City: Macon, Ga.
Site: Hawkins Arena (3,200)
Live Video (Free): ASUN.TV
Live Audio: MERCERBEARS.com
Live Stats: MERCERBEARS.com
Twitter: @FGCU_MBB
Twitter Hashtags: #FGCU/#WeAreFGCU/#ASUNMBB
Current Streak: W1
On The Road/Streak: 2-5/W1
On Wednesday: 2-0
Vs. Mercer/Streak: 2-9/W1
Last Meeting: FGCU 62, Mercer 58 - March 2, 2012 (Macon, Ga.)
Up Next: vs. Jacksonville - Jan. 5 - 2:00 P.M.

AT A GLANCE
Coming off a hard-fought 68-59 win at Kennesaw State in the Atlantic Sun opener on New Year’s Eve, FGCU will closeout its two-game conference road swing at preseason favorite Mercer Wednesday night at Hawkins Arena. FGCU (9-5) and Mercer (8-6) rank first and second in the A-Sun in total wins, respectively, and are in the top three in the A-Sun in six different team statistical categories. The game is a rematch of the 2012 A-Sun Tournament semifinal showdown in which the Eagles became just the sixth team in the 33-year history of the A-Sun to advance to the Championship game in its first year of postseason eligibility.

STARTING 5 QUICK HITS
#0 Brett Comer (G)
• A-Sun leader & 22nd nationally in assists per game (6.0).
• Reached double figures in five of the last six games; 11.0 ppg.
• Team leader in assists in 13 of 14 games and 42 of 46 for career.
#2 Bernard Thompson (G)
• National leader in total steals (44) and 5th in steals per (3.1).
• Ranks sixth in the A-Sun in scoring (14.3).
• Four 20-point road games this season.
#25 Sherwood Brown (G)
• Tied for the team lead and 6th in the A-Sun in scoring (14.3).
• Reached double figures in 13 straight true road games, dating back to last year.
• 20-of-44 from three-point land in last nine games.
#20 Chase Fieler (F)
• College Sports Madness A-Sun Player of the Week on Dec. 17.
• Reached double-digits in seven of the last 10 games - 11.7 ppg.
• Team leader with 29 dunks out of 55 made field goals.
#12 Eric McKnight (F)
• Fourth on the team in scoring (7.1) and tops in rebounding (5.2)
• A-Sun leader in total blocks (19) and 4th per game (1.4).
• Has led the squad in rebounds a team-best four times.

FGCU FAST BREAK FACTS
• A-Sun leader with nine wins; includes a program D-1 record eight non-conference victories
• Hasn’t lost two straight games this season
• In the top 100 of the RPI, according to seven media outlets
• Receiving votes in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll the last five weeks
• Projected to represent the A-Sun in recent NCAA Bracketology by Joe Lundardi (ESPN.com) & Jerry Palm (CBS Sports)

AGAINST MERCER
Prior to FGCU defeating Mercer in the Atlantic Sun semifinals last March, the Eagles had lost four straight and nine of 10 meetings against the Bears. The Eagles rallied from six points down to defeat Mercer, 62-58, on its home court in the A-Sun semifinals in front of a record crowd of 3,497, for its first-ever win (1-5) in Macon, Ga.

SCOUTING MERCER
TEAM
Voted the A-Sun preseason favorite by both the league head coaches and media, Mercer returns four starters and 11 players off last year’s club that went 27-11 and won the CIT. With road wins at Florida State and Alabama this season, the Bears have won of their last five and are off to an 8-6 start in their fifth season under head coach Bob Hoffman that includes a 70-64 victory on A-Sun opening night against Stetson. Like FGCU, the Bears are unbeaten at home this season (5-0) and have a combined 20 home victories the last two years.

PERSONNEL
Senior Travis Smith leads the team in scoring at 11.5 points per contest, coming off a career-high 25-point performance against Stetson in the A-Sun opener that earned him the league’s Player of the Week award. A-Sun All-Conference point guard Langston Hall missed the first five games of the season due to injury, but has returned to average 9.0 points and 4.1 assists.

SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE
Wednesday night’s game pins FGCU’s A-Sun-leading scoring offense (71.0) against Mercer’s top-ranked league scoring defense (55.4). The Eagles haven’t been held below 70 points in back-to-back games since mid-November, while Mercer has allowed just five teams to reach the 60-point plateau.

FGCU IN LATEST BRACKETOLOGY
FGCU was predicted as the No. 13 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament by ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi in his Dec. 11th Bracketology. Lunardi has FGCU squaring off against No. 4 seed Gonzaga in San Jose, Calif. On Dec. 27, the Eagles were also predicted to represent the A-Sun in Jerry Palm of CBS Sports in his Bracketology. Palm has FGCU as the No. 15 seed in the East Region taking on No. 2 seed Cincinnati in Dayton, Ohio.

SUNSHINE STATE SUCCESS
Out of the 13 Division I schools in the state of Florida, the Eagles (9-5) are tied with No. 14 Florida (9-2) and UCF (9-3) for the most victories in the state.

(Records as of Jan. 1)
Florida: 9-2
FGCU: 9-5
UCF: 9-3
Miami: 8-3
USF: 8-3
Florida State: 8-4
Seven schools: Six wins or fewer

MAKE MOVES IN THE MID-MAJOR POLL
Currently in the top 100 of the RPI according to seven different media outlets, FGCU has received votes in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll five straight weeks.

FGCU IS UNBEATEN WHEN ...
9-0 when leading with five minutes left
7-0 at Alico Arena
7-0 when leading at the half
6-0 when out-rebounding its opponent
5-0 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field

ONE-TWO PUNCH
Senior SHERWOOD BROWN and sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON give FGCU one of the top backcourts in the Atlantic Sun and the second-best scoring tandem in the conference. The duo is averaging a combined 28.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.6 steals per game.
• One of two combos in the A-Sun to both rank in the top 10 in scoring ... both are tied for the team lead and sixth in the A-Sun in scoring at 14.3 points per game.
• Both reached the 20-point plateau at Samford, combining for 43 points, including 26 in the second half.
• The duo has reached double figures in same game 11 times
• Brown or Thompson has led the team in scoring in nine of the 14 games and have been the top two scorers on seven occasions.
• Combine to average 34.1 points on the road

A-Sun Top Scoring Tandems
Smith/Wallace (UNF) - 30.4 pgg
Thompson/Brown (FGCU) - 28.6 ppg
Craig/Rodgers (USC Upstate) - 28.4 ppg
Pegg/Perez (Stetson) - 27.9 ppg
Cummings/Love (Kennesaw St.) - 27.2 ppg

ROAD WARRIORS
The second-highest scoring tandem in the A-Sun, senior Sherwood Brown and sophomore Bernard Thompson take their game up to another level on the road.
• Account for 48 percent (239 of 496) of the team’s scoring on the road, leading the team in points in six of seven contests.
• Both players have reached double figures in all seven road games, while five of their six combined 20-point games are on the road.
• Combining for 34.1 points per game away from home and shooting 50 percent (86-171) from the floor.
• Scoring 19.8 points in the second half, highlighted by seven double figure efforts (Thompson-4, Brown-3) in the final 20 minutes.

STICKY FINGERS
Sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON registered 57 steals as a freshman in 2011-12 - good for third in the A-Sun and fifth-best in program single-season history - and is on pace to shatter that total and the program record this season.
• Tied for the national lead in total steals with 44 - Briante Weber (VCU) & Dyricus Simms-Edwards (Bradley).
• Leads the A-Sun and ranks fifth in the nation in steals per game (3.1)
• Had a career-high of five steals at No. 9 Duke, vs. Toledo and vs. Loyola-MD.
• Current streak of 14 games with a steal, including four or more six times.
• Has a steal in 42 of 46 career games, including 32 multi-steal performances.
• Reached 100 career steals in his 46th game at Kennesaw State.

FLOOR GENERAL
After leading the A-Sun and finishing second among freshmen nationally in assists per game in 2011-12, sophomore BRETT COMER is out to defend his league assist crown.
• Leads the A-Sun and is 22nd in the nation in assists per game (6.0).
• Only A-Sun player this season with multiple games of 10 or more assists.
• Ranks third in the A-Sun in assist/turnover ratio (+1.6).
• Third all-time in FGCU history with 262 assists
• Has a steal in all but two games this season and 16 of his last 18 contests.
• Scored in double figures five of the last six games, a span in which he’s averaging 11.0 points, 6.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals.
• Has an assist on 28 of the team’s 66 dunks.

A-SUN LEADERS
FGCU leads the A-Sun in three statistical categories: scoring offense (71.0), field goal percentage (.466) and steals (9.7). Sophomore BRETT COMER leads the league in assists (6.0) while sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON is tops in steals (3.1) and ERIC MCKNIGHT leads the way in total blocks (19).

FIELER-ING IT
Over the last 10 games, junior CHASE FIELER has been FGCU’s top rebounder (5.1) and third-leading scorer at 11.7 points.
• Named the College Sports Madness A-Sun Player of the Week on Dec. 17.
• Reached double figures in seven of the last 10 games, including a career long four-game stretch.
• Has led the team in scoring four times after leading the team in points just two times over his first two seasons.
• Scored a career-high 18 points, including 15 in the second half, at Iowa State and had 18 points in the win over FIU.
• Third on the team in scoring (9.9) and fourth in rebounding (4.6) - 22nd in the A-Sun in scoring.
• Named to the Battle 4 Atlantis All-Tournament team.
• Team leader with 29 dunks out 55 made field goals.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU
One of two players to rank in the A-Sun’s top 10 in scoring and rebounding in 2011-12, this season senior SHERWOOD BROWN has twice been named the A-Sun Player of the Week by College Sports Madness an once by the league office. He was also named the MVP of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament hosted by FGCU.
• Tied for the team lead and sixth in the A-Sun in scoring at 14.3 points per game, led by a pair of 20-point nights.
• Ranks 17th in rebounding (4.9), eighth in steals (1.4) and 8th in minutes (31.1).
• Has reached double figures a team-best 12 times, including all seven road games where he averages 16.4 points.
• FGCU is 5-1 when Brown leads in scoring.
• Team leader with 23 three-pointers, knocking down 20 of his last 44 from beyond the arc.

WEEKLY HONORS
Senior SHERWOOD BROWN became the second straight Eagle to win the A-Sun Player of the Week on Nov. 27. Brown’s A-Sun Player of the Week honor followed sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON’S on Nov. 20. Brown has also been the College Sports Madness’ A-Sun Player of the Week two times, while junior CHASE FIELER garnered the award from the media outlet on Dec. 17.

SUPER SOPH
A CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major All-American a year ago, sophomore BERNARD THOMPSON has a quartet of 20-point games on the road this season and was named the A-Sun Player of the Week on November 20.
• Tied for nation lead with 44 steals.
• Sixth in the nation in scoring (14.3).
• Second in the nation with four 20-point road games.
• Tied for the team lead with 12 double-digit performances.
• Averaging 17.7 points per game in seven road games with 24 points at No. 9 Duke, 21 points at VCU, 21 points at Samford and 20 points at St. John’s.
• Highlighted by a career-high six three-pointers at No. 9 Duke, he ranks third in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.388).