12/14/2013 | Alico Arena (Fort Myers, Fla.) | Attendance: 2785
|Stats at a Glance||SAM||FGCU|
|3P FG Percentage||.125
Samford (4-7) @ FGCU (4-4)
Saturday, Dec. 14 | 1:03 PM | Alico Arena (4,633)
Talent: Tom James (PxP) | J. Webb Horton (Analyst)
Fans are encouraged to bring an un-opened present to the game as members of the FGCU Athletics Department will be collecting new toys as part of Toys For Tots.
DUNK CITY, Fla. – Looking to avoid its first four-game losing streak since the 2011-12 campaign and aiming to build momentum as the non-conference schedule winds down, the FGCU men’s basketball team (4-4) lands back at Alico Arena Saturday for a matinee affair with Samford (4-7) at 1 p.m.
The game is set to be the final ASun.TV broadcast of the year as all further home games not on TV will be shown on ESPN3. Tom James will have the call, with J. Webb Horton providing analysis of the Eagles’ final non-league home contest of the season. Fans can access the free video broadcast by visiting ASun.TV or clicking here.
SETTING THE STAGE
Despite its recent struggles without a full complement of players, FGCU is still not far off from the way it began its record-setting 2012-13 campaign. Through eight games last year the Eagles were 5-3, and are 4-4 this season. FGCU was 4-3 heading into its meeting with Samford last year.
The Eagles have been without redshirt junior Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy) all year as the Iowa State transfer remains suspended for at least the next four games for a violation of team rules. McKnight finished third in the Atlantic Sun Conference in blocks last year while averaging more than 6 points and 4 rebounds per game, but has been practicing and traveling with the team all year.
Additionally, true freshman Logan Hovey (Orlando, Fla./Paul J. Hagerty HS) has not played all year and continues to rehab following surgery to help with a leg injury. Meanwhile, junior Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) is nearing back to 100 percent health with an ankle injury suffered prior to FGCU’s season opener at Nebraska.
CLOSING IN ON MILESTONES
Thompson currently ranks fourth among active A-Sun players in career points with 977, only 23 points shy of 1000, which would make him just the fourth player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
Additionally, lone senior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W.Va./Parkersburg South HS) is sixth among A-Sun active players in career points with 934, only 66 points shy of 1,000. Fieler also grabbed seven rebounds at FIU to move to an even 500 for his career and one step closer to joining former teammate Sherwood Brown as the only players in program history with 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
LAST YEAR AGAINST SAMFORD – 2012 Box Score & Recap
Sherwood Brown and Thompson tallied 22 and 21 points, respectively, and Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) issued 10 assists to lead FGCU to an easy 86-62 win in Birmingham, Ala. The Eagles held a 12-5 lead before going on a 12-0 run that created a 24-5 advantage just eight minutes into the game, allowing them to coast from there. Filip Cvjeticanin (12) and Fieler (10) concluded the quartet of Green and Blue double-digit scorers.
FGCU has made at least one 3-pointer in 121 consecutive games. Only twice since the program’s inception in 2002-03 have the Eagles failed to make a 3 in a game, and those games occurred back-to-back during the 2009-10 season. FGCU went 0-10 against UNF and then completed the homestand by going 0-8 versus Jacksonville two days later. Until that point, the Green and Blue had knocked down a 3-pointer in 228 straight games.
TWEETABLES (5 Things To Know In 140 Characters Or Less)
• After Saturday’s contest against Samford, FGCU will not be back in the friendly confines of Alico Arena until Monday, Dec. 30, vs. Northern Kentucky.
• FGCU continues to lead the @AtlanticSun in scoring defense, holding its opposition to 69.2 points per game.
• The Eagles’ 46.5 field-goal percentage is second-best in the A-Sun and ranks inside the top-100 nationally.
• The Green and Blue are one of only two teams (ETSU) in the league that does not have a negative turnover margin (+0.0).
• FGCU is ranked in the top-90 nationally in turnovers per game at 11.5 (90), fewest turnovers with 92 (83) and fewest fouls per game at 17.3 (40).
• Samford is coming off an 85-63 win over Austin Peay last Saturday and has won three of its past four games after starting the year by winning its first game and then dropping six in a row.
• The Bulldogs – the alma mater of former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden – begin a three-game road stretch starting with FGCU.
• Samford has not yet won a road game this year (0-6), and is also 0-5 when trailing at halftime.
• Picked to finish 4th in the Southern Conference this year, Samford returns four starters from a team which went 11-21 a year ago.
• The Bulldogs have made at least one 3-pointer in 667 straight games, a streak which dates back to 1991.
• Isaiah Williams is the twice-reigning SoCon Freshman of the Week; he averaged 14 points, 6.5 assists and 3 rebounds per game last week.
• Tim Williams, last year’s SoCon Freshman of the Year, scored in double digits in 30 out of 32 games last season and has reached double digits in 10 out of 11 games so far this year.
• Tim Williams leads the team in scoring (15.4 ppg), while Isaiah Williams – no relation – ranks second at 13.4 per game. Tim Williams also pulls down a team-best 7.1 rebounds per outing, and four players – Isaiah Williams, Raijon Kelly, Connor Miller and Russell Wilson – account for 84 percent of the team’s assists (132 of 157).
PLAYER QUICK HITTERS
Comer: Scored all 14 of his points and issued all six of his assists in the second half of FGCU’s game at FIU. His 5.9 assist-per-game average leads the A-Sun and is 26th in the country, and the junior is just 31 helpers shy of 500 for his career.
Fieler: Ranks third in the A-Sun with a .627 field-goal percentage (47-75). That percent is 19th-best in the country, and the senior leads FGCU in scoring at 14.5 – an average which ranks 5th best in the league.
Thompson: Is 5th all-time among active A-Sun career leaders in field goals made with 348.
Nate Hicks (Panama City Beach, Fla./J.R. Arnold HS/Georgia Tech): Tied for the A-Sun lead in blocks per game at 1.8.
Filip Cvjeticanin (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid): Leads the A-Sun in 3-pointers made per game (2.3) and is third in 3-point percentage (48.9 on 18-37). As a freshman, Cvjeticanin finished second in the A-Sun by shooting 43 percent from 3 (56-130), a pace he is well ahead of this year.
FGCU will begin a lengthy road trip that will take them up to the holiday break. The Eagles will remain on the road throughout their journey to Tampa to face USF on Dec. 17, then head on to Mississippi State to battle the Bulldogs on Dec. 19 before venturing to Las Vegas for a pair of games on Dec. 22 and 23 at Orleans Arena. All four games will be part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic, and more information can be found by clicking here.
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.