11/26/2013 | PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC | Attendance: 11123
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||ST|
|3P FG Percentage||.250
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS/POSTGAME INTERVIEWS COMING SOON
RALEIGH, N.C. – Senior Chase Fieler picked up two fouls not even five minutes into the game, and the FGCU men’s basketball (4-2) never got into rhythm at NC State as the Wolfpack (3-2) used a +18 rebounding edge and 54 points in the paint to claim an 82-62 win over the Eagles at PNC Arena Tuesday night.
Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) bounced back from a two-point performance in the first half to score 16 of his team-high 18 points in the second stanza. Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS), the team’s leading returning scorer from last year, did not play in two games this past week as he rested an ankle injury but returned against the Wolfpack and scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half. Jamail Jones (Atlanta, Ga./Montverde Academy/Marquette) concluded the trio of FGCU double-figure scorers as he added 11.
The Eagles were out-rebounded, 43-25, including a 13-8 edge on the offensive glass, which led to 17 NC State second-chance points. The Wolfpack connected at a 54.8-percent clip from the field (34-62), aided largely by their points in the paint total and 18 fastbreak points.
“We didn’t get off to a good start and allowed NC State to get some easy looks in the paint on layups and in transition,” head coach Joe Dooley said. “Credit to them (NC State) for the way they played; we played well in spurts, but not enough to compete for a full 40 minutes.”
Just as he has in each of FGCU’s first two road games at Nebraska and Furman, the 6-foot-8 Fieler got into early foul trouble, forcing him onto the bench for more than 10 minutes until the 4:36 mark when Dooley re-entered his lone senior with the Eagles trailing, 29-17.
To further complicate FGCU’s interior issues, 6-foot-10 center Nate Hicks (Panama City Beach, Fla./J.R. Arnold HS) – coming off his first career double-double – was also whistled for two early fouls and played single-digit minutes in the opening stanza along with Fieler.
The Eagles shot just 34.5 percent (19-55) from the field, including only a 28.6-percent clip (8-28) in the first half. Despite the performance from the floor, the Green and Blue shot 87 percent (20-23) from the free-throw line, and efficiently turned 11 Wolfpack turnovers into 13 points.
Hicks picked up his second foul at the 8:57 mark of the first half and was immediately subbed out with the Eagles down just four, 15-11. However, over the next four-and-a-half minutes, NCSU went on a 16-6 run to open up a 14-point edge before Fieler ultimately picked up his third foul at the 3:38 mark and sat for the duration of the half.
NC State carried a 39-24 lead into the half, and opened the second stanza on an extended 20-8 run to open up its largest lead of the night at 59-32 with 13 minutes on the clock. The Eagles were able to take that 27-point deficit down to 17 late in the contest as they finished an otherwise poor night strong.
Thompson, the Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year in 2012-13, played through the ankle injury the first three games of the season. Though still not 100 percent, the guard recorded a season high with three steals, a total matched by Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS).
NC State received a game-high 30 points from T.J. Warren, who also added nine rebounds. Jordan Vandenberg, a 7-foot center who is the lone NCSU senior, played for the first time all year after recovering from an injury and contributed seven points and a game-best 10 rebounds. Anthony Barber chipped in with 12 points as just two Wolfpack players finished in double-figure scoring.
The Eagles will have a few days to regroup before landing back at The Nest on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m. for a prime matchup versus Iona. The New York-based school has made consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, led the nation in scoring two years ago and finished second in the country in scoring last season. Students are encouraged to return from Thanksgiving Break early, and a limited number of tickets remain as fans are urged to reserve their seat in advance.
GAME NOTES: After leading FGCU in scoring in each of the past three games, Comer finished with only three points … Filip Cvjeticanin (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) scored six points on 2-4 shooting from 3-point range and added four rebounds … playing in front of roughly a dozen friends and family, Dajuan Graf (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O. Berry Academy) also contributed six points, three rebounds and a pair of thefts … redshirt junior Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy/Iowa State) is eligible to potentially return from a season-opening six-game suspension for a violation of team rules against Iona.
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.