(10-8 (4-1 A-Sun))
(8-9 (4-2 A-Sun))
1/11/2014 | JVM Arena - Jacksonville, Fla. | Attendance: 804
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||JU|
|3P FG Percentage||.286
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Despite Chase Fieler’s fourth double-double of the season, the FGCU men’s basketball team (10-8, 4-1 Atlantic Sun Conference) dropped its first league game of the year Saturday afternoon against Jacksonville University (8-9, 4-2 A-Sun) at Veterans Memorial Arena, 76-69.
Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) led a trio of FGCU double-figure scorers with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds – his fifth double-figure rebounding performance of the campaign. Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) added 18 points and a team-best four assists, while Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) contributed 17 points, six rebounds and a game-best three steals.
Jacksonville – which received a first-place vote in the A-Sun Preseason Media Poll – led at the half, 42-35, and quickly extended to a 13-point edge just more than six minutes into the second half. The Eagles then started to chip away and went on a 10-2 run over a five-minute span to make it a five-point game, 57-52, with under 10 minutes remaining.
The Dolphins responded with a 12-4 stretch – capped by a 3-pointer – to go back up 13, 69-56, with 4:41 left, all but knocking FGCU out of the game. But the Green and Blue fought back and got its deficit down to just five, 70-65, with still 1:53 to play following a Thompson three-point play. That JU 3-pointer at the 4:41 mark was the final field goal the Dolphins hit as all their final seven points came from the free-throw line. FGCU had several chances in the waning minutes to pull closer than five, but never could, and now sit tied for first place in the A-Sun with Mercer.
“I thought that they (Jacksonville) did a real good job of being aggressive from the outset,” head coach Joe Dooley said. “I thought transition defense and offensive rebounds were key factors, but they also stepped up and made some 3s so you have to give them credit. I thought that they out-played us, but we missed some chippies (easy shots) and they got us out of sync.”
“It’s how you handle a loss and how you bounce back,” Dooley continued. “We did some good things on the roadtrip: we didn’t turn the ball over that much and held our opponents to a decent percentage shooting, so we’ve got some things to build from.”
The Eagles lost the battle on the glass, being out-rebounded by seven, 41-34, including a 23-15 disparity in the second half. Both teams had 14 offensive rebounds, leading to 13 second-chance points for JU and 12 for FGCU. The Dolphins were also stout from the free-throw line, connecting on 23-of-29 attempts (79.3 percent), while the Eagles went just 9-for-17 (52.9 percent).
FGCU out-shot Jacksonville from the field – 43 percent to 41 percent – but the Dolphins made the most of their attempts from long range, knocking in 9-16 from 3-point range (56.3 percent) to counter FGCU’s +14 advantage in the paint, 38-24, including a dominant 20-4 performance in the second half.
FGCU will look to bounce back as it returns to Alico Arena next week to face USC Upstate and ETSU. The Eagles will battle the Spartans on Thursday night (Jan. 16) at 7 before facing the Buccaneers on Saturday (Jan. 18) at 7:30 p.m. Both games will air on ESPN3. Students are strongly encouraged to pick up their tickets at the Alico Arena Ticket Office well in advance of both games to ensure their seats as a sellout, standing-room-only crowd is expected both nights.
GAME NOTES: Nate Hicks scored five points and grabbed five rebounds off the bench … Thompson’s three steals match a season high set at NC State … FGCU was just 1-8 from 3-point range in the second half … Eric McKnight played only 18 minutes because of foul trouble, but still blocked a game-high-tying three shots … the Eagles committed just 12 turnovers for the second straight game … FGCU turned 17 JU turnovers into 15 points … for the first time in seven games the Eagles’ bench failed to reach double-figure points (8).
All 2013-14 men’s basketball season tickets are selling quickly, and only a limited amount remain. Fans can reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets.
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.