11/8/2013 | Pinnacle Bank Arena (Lincoln, Neb.) | Attendance: 15119
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||NEB|
|3P FG Percentage||.400
LINCOLN, Neb. – The highly-anticipated 2013-14 FGCU men’s basketball season tips off Friday night in primetime as the Eagles travel to Nebraska for a 9 p.m. matchup with the Cornhuskers which will be shown nationally on the Big Ten Network.
FGCU returns four starters from a team which went 26-11 and became the first-ever No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16. Nebraska, meanwhile, brings back three starters from a 15-18 club which is under the guidance of second-year head coach Tim Miles.
Tom Hamilton will have the call on the Big Ten Network, with Jim Jackson serving as the analyst. The Big Ten Network is available on Comcast in Southwest Florida on channel 472, DirectTV on channel 610 and on the DISH Network at channel 439.
1) FGCU was ranked No. 25 in the final USA Today Coaches Poll at the end of last season.
2) The Eagles begin this season No. 11 in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.
3) Joe Dooley, who spent the past 10 years as the top assistant at Kansas, will coach his first game at the helm of FGCU.
4) FGCU became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to reach the Sweet 16 with wins over No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State.
5) The Green and Blue set a Division-I program record with 26 wins last year.
FGCU already has 10 regular-season games in 2013-14 slated to appear on national or regional television. Prior to this year, the Eagles only had three such games – and only one on national TV – in their six previous seasons as a Division-I member.
Additionally, for the first time ever, all home games not on TV will be streamed live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
FGCU’s home opener Tuesday against Hartford has been dubbed “Breakfast at the Beach” and is part of ESPN’s 24-Hour Tipoff Marathon. The game will tip on ESPN2 at 7 a.m. and fewer than 400 tickets remain for the Eagles’ first-ever nationally-televised home game. Tickets can be secured by calling the FGCU Ticket Office at 239-590-7145, logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets or stopping by Alico Arena.
Nebraska went 15-18 in 2012-13, culminating with a loss to Ohio State in the second round of the Big Ten Championship, and enters its second season under the helm of head coach Tim Miles.
The game against FGCU will be Nebraska’s first regular-season contest in the brand-new, $179-million Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Cornhuskers return nine letterwinners, including three starters (Ray Gallegos, Shavon Shields and David Rivers), and add eight newcomers.
NU earned a 91-60 win in its lone exhibition game of the preseason on Monday night over Nebraska-Kearney.
Senior guard Gallegos is the Huskers top returning scorer at 12.5 per game, but will is suspended and will not play versus FGCU. He led the Big Ten with 83 3-pointers last year, ranking second in school history.
LOOKING FOR #1
FGCU is 0-6 all-time against Big Ten members, and the meeting with the Huskers will mark the third time in program history the Eagles have opened a season versus a Big Ten opponent. The last time FGCU faced a Big Ten school was in 2011-12 against Nebraska when the Eagles fell, 51-50, after the Huskers scored with 10.4 seconds left and FGCU was unable to get a potential game-winning shot off.
PRESEASON LEAGUE FAVORITES
FGCU was picked to win the Atlantic Sun Conference as the Eagles will be looking to do something they didn’t do last year – win the regular-season title. Junior guard Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) and senior forward Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) were unanimous selections to the Preseason All-A-Sun Team, while junior guard Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) was also a preseason all-league member.
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FGCU men’s and women’s basketball programs combined for 53 wins in 2012-13, putting the Eagles in elite company as one of only four schools in the country with at least 53 victories. The other three: Louisville (64), Duke (63) and Gonzaga (59).
Thompson and Fieler are both positioned to become the first set of teammates in program history to surpass the 1,000 career point milestone this year. Thompson is just 103 points shy while Fieler needs to 182 to reach the mark.
Additionally, Comer has 422 career assists to rank second all-time, and is 184 behind leader Bryan Crislip (622). The guard dished out an average of 6.6 dimes per game last year, good for 14th in the nation.
Thompson is also near the top of the career steals list as he begins the year ranked second with 159, only 35 shy of Crislip’s record of 194.
Fieler commences the year third in all-time rebounding with 454 and needs 116 to reach Adam Liddell’s 570 and 136 to surpass Sherwood Brown’s record of 589.
@FGCU_MBB FAST BREAK FACTS
* Won the A-Sun Tournament in just its second year of Division I postseason eligibility.
* Snapped an 11-game A-Sun losing streak at the NCAA Tournament.
* Improved to 5-1 all-time at the A-Sun Tournament, advancing to the championship game both years.
* Had a pair of program D1 record seven-game win streaks.
* A-Sun leader and 16th in the nation in steals (8.9), FGCU had double figure steals in 18 games (15-3) on the year.
* Didn’t trail in nine games on the year.
* A-Sun leader in scoring (72.9), FGCU scored 70+ points in 25 games - 18 of last 23 - and was 8-0 when scoring 80 points.
* Held a double-digit lead in 20 of the last 24 games and 28 times on the year, pushing the edge to 20+ points in eight contests.
* A perfect 13-0 when holding opponents under 60 points and 9-1 when shooting 50 percent or better.
* At least three players reached double figures in 30 of the last 32 games, highlighted by five in seven contests (7-0).
* 15-1 at Alico Arena, which equaled the most home wins by an A-Sun team in the last five years; started the season with a program record D1 record nine straight home victories.
IMPACT ON #DUNKCITY
Ticket Sales: Individual Season Tickets have increased more than 150 percent from 550 in 2012-13 to 1,400 in ’13-’14.
Merchandise Sales: Increased by 415 percent in the first half of 2013 compared with the same time period in 2012.
Web: In the month of March alone, FGCUAthletics.com had 5.9 million pageviews and 535,000 unique visitors. Both numbers were more than the previous 11 months combined.
WATCH YOUR WALLET
With 102 steals from the 2012-13 season, Thompson is the top returning steals leader in the nation entering the 2013-14 campaign.
FGCU won the ESPY for ‘Best Upset’ this past summer for its stunning victory over Georgetown, capped by a brazen alley-oop from Brett Comer to Chase in the closing 90 seconds. The Eagles won the award over Texas A&M for its win at Alabama, Louisville defeating the Baylor’s women’s basketball program in the Sweet 16 and Manuel Marquez knocking out Manny Pacquiao.
For up-to-the-minute information and behind-the-scenes access to the men’s basketball program, follow @FGCU_MBB on Twitter and Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook at /FGCUMBB.
2013-14 men’s basketball season tickets are selling quickly, and only a limited amount remain. New this year are mini-plan packages for all games, with the exception of “Breakfast at the Beach,” and individual-game tickets are now on sale. Fans can reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets.