12/17/2013 | Tampa, Fla. (Sun Dome) | Attendance: 4105
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||USF|
|3P FG Percentage||.320
FGCU (5-4) @ USF (6-2)
Saturday, Dec. 17 | 7 PM | Sun Dome (10,633)
Talent: Rich Hollenberg (PxP) | Carolyn Peck (Analyst)
Game Notes: FGCU | USF (Printable)
TAMPA – Coming off one of its largest victories in the Division-I program era, the FGCU men’s basketball team (5-4) begins the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic with a contest at the University of South Florida (6-2) Tuesday night at 7 in front of a national TV audience on ESPNU.
The game will be the first of what will ultimately be a four-game, nine-day road trip which will take the team from the Sunshine State to Mississippi and Las Vegas. Rich Hollenberg will have the call, with Carolyn Peck providing analysis on ESPNU. For those unable to make the trip, a watch party will be held at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Estero’s Grand Oaks Shoppes.
TWEETABLES (5 Things To Know In 140 Characters Or Less)
• Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) enters the game just eight points shy of 1,000 for his career.
• He would become the fourth player in program history to reach the milestone and just the second in the Division-I era (2007-08).
• FGCU will be in search of its 200th all-time win; the Eagles own a 199-153 record since the start of the program in 2002-03.
• Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) was named the Atlantic Sun Player of the Week on Monday (18 points, 5 rebounds vs. Samford).
• The Eagles’ 32-point win against Samford on Saturday, 83-51, is tied for their second-largest margin of victory in the D-I era.
CONTINENTAL TIRE LAS VEGAS CLASSIC
The Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic is an eight-team invitational that will conclude in Las Vegas on Sunday and Monday. FGCU will play Mississippi State in Starkville on Thursday as part of the classic before battling Florida A&M on Sunday and either Radford or Sacred Heart on Monday in Orleans Arena. Also in the field are UNLV and Santa Clara.
Always one of the top tournaments of the college basketball season, past champions of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic include Kansas State (2008), Alabama (2009), New Mexico (2010) and Baylor (2011). The 2012 tourney was won by Colorado State, which defeated Virginia Tech, 88-52, in the championship game.
Hosting more than 200 events each year, Orleans Arena is located just west of the Las Vegas strip and was named the #1 mid-size arena in the USA by Venues Today magazine earlier this year.
BACK IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT
Tuesday’s game will be FGCU’s fourth national TV appearance of the year already, including its second in 10 days. Prior to this year, the Eagles only had one regular-season national TV broadcast, and that came last year at Duke on ESPNU. FGCU has played on the Big Ten Network, ESPN2 and Fox Sports 1 so far this year, in addition to a regional game on CSS.
As part of its 83-51 win over Samford on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak, FGCU set or tied several season highs at both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
Free-Throws Made: 20 (Tied)
Free-Throws Attempted: 28
Rebounds: 42 (Tied)
3-Pointers Made: 2 (Tied)
3-Point Percentage: 12.5
• USF is coming off a tightly-contested win at home against Alabama, 66-64, giving the Bulls two straight wins by two points or less.
• This is USF’s first year in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), formerly the all-sports Big East Conference, which now does not compete in Division-I football.
• USF, which has had nine days off, will be meeting FGCU for the first time.
• The Bulls return three starters from a team that went 12-19 last year, but won two games in the 2012 NCAA Tournament to advance to the Third Round.
• 42 percent of USF’s scoring has come from its three newcomers: Corey Allen Jr. and two freshmen big men: Chris Perry and John Egbunu.
• USF is ranked 28th nationally in blocks per game (6.0) and 22nd in fewest fouls (145); however the Bulls struggle from long range as they rank among the bottom 15 in 3-point field made per game (3.8) and total 3’s (30).
• Victor Rudd, who was named to the AAC Preseason Second Team, is USF’s leading scorer through eight games, averaging 14.3 per contest.
• Perry was named AAC Rookie of the Week for the second time this year last week.
START TO FINISH
FGCU led from start-to-finish against the Bulldogs Saturday, representing the second time it has done that this year and the first time it has done so versus a Division-I opponent.
FEAST OR FAMINE
Despite having a scoring margin of +1.6, only one of FGCU’s first nine games has been decided by single digits – and that came on the road at Furman by one point, 70-69, after Comer hit a pair of free throws with 5 seconds remaining.
In FGCU’s five wins, it is claiming victories by an average of more than 17 points. However, in their four losses the Eagles have been defeated by an average of just more than 18 points.
In their wins, the Eagles are shooting nearly 50 percent from field while holding their opposition to 37 percent and out-rebounding them by +8.4. In its losses, FGCU is connecting at a 43-percent clip from the floor, but allowing opponents to shoot 52 percent and being out-rebounded by -9.
ODDS & ENDS
25: The amount of points FGCU scored on Saturday off 18 Samford turnovers, the most this year and more than the previous two games combined.
24: The total points FGCU’s bench scored against the Bulldogs, tied for the most in any game this year, and most versus a D-I opponent.
10: Chase Fieler’s (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) rebound total against Samford, tied for the second most by an FGCU player in a game this year.
7: Marcus Blake’s (Miami, Fla./American Heritage HS) rebound total versus Samford, a career high for the redshirt junior.
6: Of the 15 times Comer has led FGCU in scoring in his career, six have occurred this year.
5: Nate Hicks’s (Panama City Beach, Fla./J.R. Arnold HS) multi-block games; he has zero blocks in the other four games.
FGCU will travel Wednesday to Starkville, Miss. before facing Mississippi State on Thursday at 9 p.m. Eastern. The game will be shown on CSS, representing FGCU’s sixth regional or national TV appearance of the year already.
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.