(7-18, 5-7 A-Sun)
Florida Gulf Coast
(17-8, 9-3 A-Sun)
2/7/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. (Alico Arena) | Attendance: 2832
|Florida Gulf Coast||33||34||67|
|Stats at a Glance||ETSU||FGCU|
|3P FG Percentage||.158
Eagles use program record 13 blocks to stretch win streak to five games
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Behind its best defensive effort of the season, the FGCU men’s basketball team extended its win streak to five games and remained in sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Sun with a wire-to-wire 67-43 win over ETSU in front of 2,832 fans at Alico Arena Thursday night.
En route to improving to 17-8 overall and 9-3 in the A-Sun, the Eagles held ETSU (7-18, 5-7), who came in averaging 78 points over its last six games, to just 23 percent (15-66) from the field while accumulating a program record 13 blocks and 10 steals.
FGCU’s five-game win streak is the first in the program’s six-year Division I history (2007-current), while it is now 12-1 at home this season. The Eagles, who clinched a berth into the A-Sun Tournament with the win, continue their home weekend on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. when they host USC Upstate (13-12, 7-5) on ESPN3.
“It was our best defensive performance of the year. We held them to 23 percent shooting so anytime you do that to a conference opponent, it’s really impressive,” said head coach Andy Enfield. “We had 13 blocked shots and we were active with our hands with quite a few steals. Anytime we play like that, we are tough to beat.”
Thanks in part to the strong defensive effort in which FGCU gave up a season-low 43 points, the Eagles led from start to finish for the third time during the five-game win streak and have only trialed for 4:31 over the last 200 minutes of game action, never trailing by more than one possession (3 points).
Not lost in the solid night on the defensive end was senior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) becoming the first player in FGCU history to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. Brown, who has twice been named A-Sun Player of the Week, finished with a game-high 17 points along with five rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
Brown was one of seven different players to record a block, as FGCU’s 13 rejections were just two shy of ETSU’s total number of field goals (15). On the flip side, the Eagles shot 46 percent (26-57) from the field and shook off nine first half turnovers to finish with 19 assists and 12 miscues. Sophomore point guard Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) equaled a career-high with 12 assists, marking the ninth time in his career and the fourth time this year he’s gone for double-digit helpers.
Redshirt sophomore Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy) and junior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) rounded out the double figure scorers for FGCU with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Fieler edged out McKnight, 7-6, in rebounds while also supply four blocks. Sophomore Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS), who entered fifth in the nation in total steals with 63, added four more thefts to his total to go with eight points and seven rebounds.
ETSU was led by Jarvis Jones, who was the lone player in double figures with 12 points. The reigning A-Sun Player of the Week following his 36-point night against Lipscomb, Jones was limited to 4-of-19 from the field and 1-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Comer was the catalyst to FGCU’s quick 10-4 lead, as the sophomore guard had a layup and three assists over the opening 3:14. Comer had a direct hand in eight of the 10 points, but also had the steal that led to the other basket.
Holding a 22-15 lead at the under-eight media timeout, FGCU broke out of its sluggish stretch of nearly 10 minutes with just 12 points behind the hot shooting of Brown. Having made 22 of his last 42 from beyond the arc in the last six games, Brown buried back-to-back three-pointers to cap the run and give FGCU its largest lead of the half (15), at 30-15.
For the 10th time in the last 11 games, the Eagles held the lead at the half, owning a 33-21 advantage through 20 minutes. FGCU was able to get over its nine turnovers by shooting 14-of-25 from the field (56 percent), while it reached its season-best for blocks with nine.
FGCU was able to put the game away in the second half, doubling-up ETSU at 50-25 with 10:41 to play. The Bucs scored just five points over the first 10:47 of the second half.