12/14/2013 | Alico Arena (Fort Myers, Fla.) | Attendance: 2785
|Stats at a Glance||SAM||FGCU|
|3P FG Percentage||.125
DUNK CITY, Fla. – Chase Fieler recorded his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds to lead a balanced FGCU attack as the men’s basketball team (5-4) never trailed and cruised to an 83-51 win over visiting Samford (4-8) Saturday afternoon at Alico Arena to stop a three-game losing streak.
Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) did the majority of his damage in the first half as he earned his third career double-double by scoring eight points and securing eight rebounds in the opening stanza. Junior Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) finished with a game-high 18 points – a dozen of which came in the second stanza – as the guard shot 8-10 from the floor.
Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) added 15 points to move his career total to 992 and eight shy of becoming the fourth player in program history with 1,000. Georgia Tech transfer Nate Hicks (Panama City Beach, Fla./J.R. Arnold HS) concluded the quartet of double-figure scorers with a career-high-tying 12 points, in addition to adding four of the Green and Blue’s five blocks.
FGCU shot 51 percent from the floor for the game (28-55) as the 83 points were the most the Eagles have scored in a contest this year. FGCU limited Samford – which was without its leading scorer – to just 32.8 percent shooting (19-58), including only a 12-percent clip from 3-point range (2-16).
“Samford did a good job early of slowing us down and we settled for some early 3’s,” head coach Joe Dooley said. “But we started to handle their zone better, and I thought once we got some stops defensively that enabled us to run and our decisions, for the most part, on the break were pretty good.”
The Eagles raced out to a fast 8-2 start following baskets from Jamail Jones (Atlanta, Ga./Montverde Academy/Marquette), Fieler and Thompson as FGCU connected on three of its first four shots, two of which were from 3-point range. FGCU extended to a double-digit lead, 22-12, with a little less than eight minutes remaining in the half as the Eagles efficiently turned five Samford turnovers into 10 points at that point to help create the edge.
The lead extended to 14, 26-12, following a Fieler rejection at one end and Thompson grabbing the ball and going coast-to-coast to finish off the glass with his left hand at the 6:37 mark. FGCU stretched to its largest lead of the first half, 16, on two different occasions in the closing minutes before settling for a 38-24 halftime lead.
The 38 points were the second-most the Eagles have scored in the first half of a game this year, and the most they have tallied in a win. FGCU shot 50 percent from the floor (13-26) and limited Samford to just 32 percent (9-28).
Comer took over at the beginning of the second half, scoring 10 of his points within the first five minutes of action. FGCU never led by less than 14, and had at least a 30-point lead for the final 12 minutes of the contest. A dominant run of 28-7 over a six-minute stretch midway through the second half helped create that large differential.
The Eagles turned 18 Samford turnovers into 25 points, by far the most this year and more than the previous two games combined.
In addition to his 18 points, Comer corralled a season-high-tying five rebounds, while Fieler added a team-high three assists. Filip Cvjeticanin (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) contributed eight points on the strength of two 3-pointers to move his season total to 20 for the year, one year removed from netting just 28 total. Marcus Blake (Miami, Fla./American Heritage HS) grabbed a career-best seven rebounds off the bench in 15 minutes of action.
Samford was led by Tyler Hood as he was the lone Bulldogs’ double-figure scorer with 11 points. Tim Williams, Samford’s leading scorer entering the game, did not play, and the Eagles held second-leading scorer Isaiah Williams scoreless on 0-9 from the field.
FGCU will now 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 Tuesday, 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.
GAME NOTES: Redshirt junior Eric McKnight, who has not played this year for a violation of team rules, remains suspended for at least the next three games … FGCU’s previous first-half high for points was 40, set against Iona … the Eagles fifth win of the 2012-13 season also came against Samford … freshmen Armand Shoon and TeJai Allen both scored their first collegiate points as Shoon had four and Allen tallied two … no FGCU player logged more than 28 minutes of action, and nine played double-figure minutes … the Eagles went 71.4 percent (20-28) from the free-throw line and 7-18 (38.9 percent) from the 3-point arc.
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.