(10-7, 4-0 ASUN)
(9-9, 3-2 ASUN)
1/9/2014 | Jacksonville, Fla. | UNF Arena | Attendance: 3181
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||UNF|
|3P FG Percentage||.385
FGCU (9-7, 3-0 A-Sun)
@ North Florida (9-8, 3-1 A-Sun)
Thursday, Jan. 9 | 7:00 PM | UNF Arena (5,800)
Game Notes: FGCU | UNF | A-Sun (Printable)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Looking to extend its program-record Atlantic Sun Conference start, the FGCU men’s basketball team (9-7, 3-0 A-Sun) heads to the northeast corner of the state for a pair of league games, beginning with the University of North Florida (9-8, 3-1 A-Sun) on Thursday at 7 p.m. at UNF Arena.
HOW TO FOLLOW
A video broadcast of the game will be available for free through ASun.TV. Additionally, Tom James will have the call for a free, audio-only feed through Stretch Internet on FGCUAthletics.com.
Live in-game and behind-the-scenes updates will be available through Twitter @FGCU_MBB, and live stats can be accessed by following the link at the top of the release or by logging on to the men’s basketball schedule page on FGCUAthletics.com.
SETTING THE STAGE
FGCU, the only school in the A-Sun with an undefeated men’s and women’s program, has started the conference season 3-0 for the first time in its seven-year membership. The Eagles are currently alone in first place, half a game clear of three teams with 3-1 records (UNF, Mercer and Northern Kentucky).
After struggling through a non-conference schedule in which it battled several injuries to key players and a suspension of one its four returning starters, FGCU has won four of its last five games, with the lone loss in that stretch coming on a closing 3-pointer. UNF fell at NKU on Monday night, 70-64, after commencing its league slate 3-0, including a triumph over Mercer, 89-83, in a game it led at one juncture by nearly 30 points.
TWEETABLES (5 Things To Know In 140 Characters Or Less)
• Brett Comer (809), who started the year in 16th place on the program’s all-time scoring list, needs just four points to move into the top 10.
• FGCU continues to lead the A-Sun in scoring defense, surrendering just 65.2 points per game – more than four points better than any other team.
• Chase Fieler (565) needs six rebounds to move into sole possession of second place on the program’s all-time list.
• Fieler also needs just three offensive rebounds to become the program’s all-time leader in that category with 207.
• UNF (+6.2) and FGCU (+5.0) are the top-two teams in terms of rebound margin in A-Sun games.
Earlier this year, FGCU won its 200th all-time game, and on Thursday against the Ospreys it has an opportunity to claim its 50th Atlantic Sun Conference victory. The Eagles own a league record of 49-56, but since the start of A-Sun play in 2011-12, the Green and Blue has gone 24-15 (8-10 in 2011-12, 13-5 in 2012-13 and 3-0 so far this year). The two dozen wins in just more than two years represent 49 percent of FGCU’s total A-Sun wins as a seven-year member of the conference.
LUCKY NUMBER 7
It’s no coincidence that since Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy) returned from a minimum 12-game suspension the FGCU offense and defense has been much more fluid. And it took him only four games back to set a program record as the redshirt junior went 7-7 from the field at Stetson Sunday, representing the most made field goals in a game without a miss.
The Iowa State transfer leads the A-Sun in field-goal percentage for league games (70.6. 12-17), and his career .613 percentage (111-181) ranks second all-time in FGCU history.
MAKING AN IMPACT WITHOUT SCORING
Sunday marked just the third time in 85 career games that Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) failed to score in a game. All three games have come on the road, with the other two occurring at ESTU last year and at Nebraska in 2011-12. However, in all three games that he’s failed to score, the junior guard has made a significant impact in other ways, including posting game-high assist totals in each outing.
Against the Cornhuskers, he had a game-high-tying five assists and tied for the team lead in rebounds with four. Opposite the Buccaneers, Comer issued a game-best 10 helpers – one of his dozen career double-figure assist contests. And versus the Hatters – coming off a career-high 24 points against Lipscomb on Wednesday – he passed out a game-best eight assists and grabbed a season-high six rebounds.
SCOUTING NORTH FLORIDA
• UNF has won four of its last five games, in addition to a six-game winning streak at home in UNF Arena where it is 24-8 since the start of the 2011-12 campaign.
• The Ospreys are 50-104 all-time in A-Sun play, while UNF’s head coach Matthew Driscoll will be looking for his 40th A-Sun victory (39-41).
• Senior forward Travis Wallace eclipsed the 1,000-career point mark at NKU, giving him 1,011. He is the team’s leading scorer at 12.1 per game, including an 18.3 average in the A-Sun action.
• Wallace is ranked inside the top-100 nationally in field-goal percentage (53.4, 72nd) and total rebounds (122, 89th).
• Sophomore guard Beau Beech has made his last 18 free throws and is ranked 24th in the country in free-throw percentage (89.1).
• UNF is near the bottom in all statistical categories for turnovers this season. The Ospreys are ranked 340th out of 345 teams in the nation with 264 turnovers so far this season. UNF is ranked 332nd in turnovers per game (15.5) and 335th in turnover margin at -4.4.
• The Ospreys make up for their turnover problems on the glass as they rank 27th nationally in total rebounds with 630.
• Wallace leads the A-Sun in rebounding at 7.2 per game, Beech paces the conference in free-throw percentage and Dallas Moore leads the league in 3-point percentage at 45.0.
FGCU won all three meetings with Ospreys last year: two during the regular season (75-73, 89-75), and one which ended UNF’s season in the A-Sun Quarterfinal (73-63). Despite the three straight wins by the Eagles, UNF leads the all-time series against FGCU since joining the Division-I ranks, 7-6. FGCU is 3-3 (home), 2-4 (away) and 1-0 (neutral) in those 13 games, and three of those have gone to overtime (21.4 percent of FGCU’s 14 all-time OT contests).
18: The amount of offensive rebounds FGCU had against Stetson, the most by the Eagles in a regular season Atlantic Sun game since the 2011-12 season; the 18 boards are also the most against an A-Sun foe since the Green and Blue pulled down 20 in the A-Sun Quarterfinal last March against UNF.
30: Filip Cvjeticanin’s (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) 3-point total for the year, which already surpasses the 28 he had all of last season; the junior is tied for 8th place on the program’s all-time 3-pointers made list with 114, one behind 7th-place Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) who has 115.
7: The percent difference between FGCU’s overall free-throw percentage for the year (64.7, 178-275) compared with its A-Sun free-throw percentage (71.7, 38-53); the 64.7 percent ranks last in the league, but the 71.7 checks in as the third-best performance in the conference.
10.8: The difference in FGCU’s rebound margin in its nine wins (+6.4) and seven losses (-4.4); the Eagles grab an average of 38.3 rebounds in their wins but just 31.3 in their losses.
PLAYER QUICK HITTERS
Dajuan Graf (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O. Berry Academy): Continues to lead FGCU in plus/minus with a +6.3 per game average.
McKnight: His 14 points at Stetson was a season and A-Sun career high … since his return from a suspension four games ago, he has led FGCU in rebounding twice and is shooting 70 percent (14-20) from the floor.
Jamail Jones (Atlanta, Ga./Montverde Academy/Marquette): Knocked down a career-high seven free throws on a career-best nine attempts at Stetson.
Thompson: Scored all 14 of his team-high-tying points in the second half at Stetson, including 10 in the final five minutes.
Head coach Joe Dooley has emphasized defense since the start of the year, and over the past seven games the Eagles have started to stabilize that defense. During that stretch – starting with an 83-51 win over Samford – FGCU has lowered its points per game allowed in every game but one, and in that contest it remained the same. In the seven-game stretch, FGCU has gone from allowing 67.3 points per game to 67.2, 67.2, 67, 66.2, 65.9 and now 65.2.
That 65.2 average leads the A-Sun by more than four points (Mercer, 69.5) and ranks inside the top-65 nationally. Furthermore, FGCU is allowing just 57.7 points per game in A-Sun play, the only team below the 60-point mark and more than six points better than any other squad (Northern Kentucky, 63.8).
AT THE TOP
In addition to closing in on the all-time rebounding and offensive rebounding record, Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) is already ahead of every FGCU player in history in three categories: blocks, minutes played and games started.
The senior logged 19 foul-plagued minutes at Stetson to push his career total to 2,917, seven past Sherwood Brown’s record of 2,910. The 6-8 forward leads in career blocks by nearly 40 with 118 rejections. Finally, with a start at UNF Thursday and at Jacksonville Saturday, he’ll have 100 career starts as he enters this weekend with 98 – 12 more than any other player.
Dating back to the 2011-12 season, FGCU has won 19 consecutive games when outscoring its opponents in the paint by at least 15 points. Fueled by their high-flying Dunk City attack last year, the Eagles were 12-0 when holding at least a +15 margin in the key in 2012-13 and are 5-0 so far this year. FGCU won two such games in 2011-12, with the last loss coming on Nov. 25, 2011, at Maryland (73-67) despite the Eagles out-scoring the ACC member in the free-throw lane by 16 points, 42-26.
DEFENDING HOME COURT
With its win over Lipscomb last Wednesday, FGCU ran its record over the past 23 games at Alico Arena to 21-2, including a 12-1 mark in the last 13 contests dating back to last year.
This is the first of its seven A-Sun seasons in which FGCU has commenced league action with three straight wins. In all six of their previous seasons as an A-Sun member the Eagles began each year 1-1, with the exception of 2010-11 when they opened 0-2.
FGCU remains in the city to face Jacksonville University on Saturday afternoon at approximately 3:15. The JU women face UNF in the first game of a doubleheader at Veterans Memorial Arena at 1 p.m.
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.