(9-9, 2-3 A-Sun)
(11-8, 5-1 A-Sun)
1/16/2014 | Alico Arena (Fort Myers, FL) | Attendance: 4580
|Stats at a Glance||UPST||FGCU|
|3P FG Percentage||.353
USC Upstate (9-8, 2-2 A-Sun)
@ FGCU (10-8, 4-1 A-Sun)
Thursday, Jan. 1 | 7:03 PM | Alico Arena (4,633)
PxP: Tom James | Analyst: J. Webb Horton
PxP: Mark Miller
DUNK CITY, Fla. – The FGCU men’s basketball team (10-8, 4-1 Atlantic Sun Conference) returns home this week for a pair of games at Alico Arena, beginning Thursday at 7:03 p.m. against USC Upstate (9-8, 2-2 A-Sun) in a highly-anticipated matchup of preseason league favorites.
WHAT TO KNOW
PRESENTING GAME SPONSOR – Ameriprise Financial
BLUEOUT – Fans are encouraged to wear blue T-shirts to create a Blueout atmosphere at Alico Arena.
FOOD DONATION – Boxes will be available in the lobby as donations to the on-campus Harry Chapin Food Bank continue to be accepted.
SETTING THE STAGE
Despite its loss at Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon, FGCU is still atop the A-Sun standings and tied with Mercer at 4-1. The Eagles were picked to win the conference in the A-Sun Preseason Coaches Poll and Media Poll, while USC Upstate was tabbed for a third-place finish in both, picking up a first-place vote in the latter. The Spartans also boast the A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year in Torrey Craig.
A sellout, standing-room-only crowd is expected, and students especially are encouraged to arrive early in order to ensure their seats. FGCU by far leads the A-Sun in home attendance at nearly 4,000 per game – 1,500 more on average than any other team – and Thursday’s contest will be the first in which students are not on a break since Nov. 18 against Eckerd.
HOW TO FOLLOW
The game will be broadcast on ESPN3, and fans can access the production free of charge by following the link at the top of this release or logging on to WatchESPN.com. Tom James will handle the play-by-play duties with J. Webb Horton serving as the analyst. In addition, ESPN Radio 99.3 will carry the game locally with Mark Miller on the call, and fans can also listen online at the link at the top of the release.
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.
With eight rebounds Thursday night, Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) will become FGCU’s all-time leading rebounder, surpassing the current record of 589 held by Sherwood Brown. Fieler enters action with 582 career boards, one of only three FGCU players with at least 400 rebounds.
TWEETABLES (5 Things To Know In 140 Characters Or Less)
• Fieler grabbed four offensive rebounds at JU and now holds the school record in that category with 209.
• Dajuan Graf has issued 17 assists against just two turnovers in A-Sun action; he had 17 assists and 11 turnovers the first 11 games of the season.
• Nate Hicks had four offensive rebounds at Jacksonville – 21 percent of his season total (19) – and equal to his previous eight games combined.
• Bernard Thompson had three steals at JU, tied for the most this year and equal to his previous seven games combined; six of his 14 steals have come in A-Sun play.
• Fieler recorded the fourth double-double of his season and sixth of his career with 20 points and 10 rebounds opposite the Dolphins on Saturday.
Even with the recent setback at Jacksonville on Saturday, FGCU has still matched its best-ever start to an A-Sun season at 4-1. That matches last year’s 4-1 start before the Eagles dropped their next two games and stood at 4-3 through seven games. Prior to the last two seasons, FGCU’s best record after five A-Sun games was 2-3, a mark reached four of the first five seasons as a Division-I member.
FGCU leads the all-time series with USC Upstate, 8-4. The Eagles have won three straight games against their conference foe, outscoring the Spartans 217-181 in that span. The Green and Blue is 4-2 at home against Upstate, 3-2 in Spartanburg, S.C. and 1-0 in a neutral-site contest – the 2012 A-Sun Championship in Macon, Ga.
Last year, FGCU won a tight first meeting between the two on the road in overtime, 72-71, and then ran away from the Spartans in the second contest, 74-49. In the first game, all of FGCU’s points came from the starters – the only time in program history (dating back to 2002-03) that no points in a game came from the bench.
SCOUTING USC UPSTATE
• USC Upstate is coming off an 84-70 win at home against Lipscomb; the Spartans have won two in a row and are seeking just their second three-game win streak of the season.
• Upstate is 5-1 at home and just 2-7 on the road, but those two wins have come at Virginia Tech and at South Carolina.
• Head coach Eddie Payne (Wake Forrest ‘73) enters his 12th season at the helm of the Spartans with a record at Upstate of 157-176 (45-67 A-Sun).
• Craig ranks second in the league in scoring (16.9 per game) and leads the conference in rebounding at 7.5 per outing.
• The Spartans are ranked in the top-40 nationally in total rebounds (648, 37th) and total assists (263, 27th), and are 41st in the country in assists per game (15.5).
• Ricardo Glenn leads the conference in offensive rebounds per game (2.7), while Ty Greene leads the A-Sun in minutes per game (35.9) and ranks 16th in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.35).
• In A-Sun play, the Spartans are setting the pace in rebound margin (+9.7), defensive rebounding percentage (.754) and offensive rebounding percentage (.389).
THEY’VE GOT TIES
FGCU head coach Joe Dooley was an assistant with Upstate head coach Eddie Payne at South Carolina from 1988-91 and then was an assistant for Payne at East Carolina from 1991-95.
Thursday’s matchup could feature five 1,000-point scorers as Upstate’s Craig (1,847) and Greene (1,057) square off against FGCU’s Thompson (1,127) and Fieler (1,057). The Spartans’ Ricardo Glenn enters the game with 996 career points.
AMONG THE BEST
FGCU and Upstate rank among the top-three teams in the A-Sun in seven of the same statistical categories and are two of only four teams in the league with a positive rebounding margin.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
12.1: USC Upstate leads the A-Sun in offensive rebounds per game with 12.1.
9.3: FGCU is last in the A-Sun in offensive rebounds per game with 9.3.
10.5: The difference in FGCU’s rebound margin in its 10 wins (+5.8) and eight losses (-4.7).
64.8: The average amount of points FGCU is allowing in A-Sun games – the second-best in the conference – despite playing three of the league’s top-four scoring teams.
66.4: The amount of points FGCU is allowing in all games, on average, to lead the A-Sun.
100: Fieler made his 100th career start at Jacksonville on Saturday.
FGCU remains at home on Saturday (Jan. 18) at 7:30 p.m. to face ETSU on ESPN3 and ESPN Radio.
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.