(16-10, 10-3 ASun)
(15-12, 8-6 A-Sun)
2/13/2014 | MSHA Athletic Center (Johnson City, TN) | Attendance: 2773
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||ETSU|
|3P FG Percentage||.409
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The FGCU men’s basketball team (16-10, 10-3 Atlantic Sun Conference) dug itself an early 12-0 hole and trailed by as much as 19 before getting within four points late in the second half, but 23 points from Bernard Thompson wasn’t enough as the Eagles had their four-game winning streak snapped Thursday night at ETSU (15-12, 8-6 A-Sun) by a score of 89-81.
Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) scored 17 of his team-best point total in the second half to eclipse the 20-point plateau for the fifth time this year en route to leading a quartet of double-figure FGCU scorers. Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) added 17 points and a team-high eight rebounds, Jamail Jones (Atlanta, Ga./Montverde Academy/Marquette) added 13 points for the third time in A-Sun action and Filip Cvjeticanin (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) netted 12 off four 3-pointers in his first contest back from a three-game suspension.
The 3-point shot is exactly what got FGCU into trouble as ETSU – the third-best scoring offense in the league at 75 per game – hit eight 3’s in the opening 11 minutes and finished with 12, the second-most the Eagles’ have allowed this year. The 89 points are also the second-most FGCU has surrendered, and 13 more than any other A-Sun opponent. Lester Wilson and Rashawn Rembert both hit six triples to account for all of ETSU’s dozen 3-pointers.
“Wilson and Rembert got them off to a great start and set the tone for the entire game,” FGCU head coach Joe Dooley said of ETSU’s beginning. “They got off to a 12-0 start and put us on our heels. We were able to respond, but they answered every run we made and that’s an attribute of a good team. They controlled the tempo and pace throughout most of the game and deserved to win for their effort.”
Trailing by as much as 17 in the second half, the Eagles whittled their deficit all the way down to four on three separate occasions between the 8:30 and 3:45 marks. The first time came at 8:29, but Thompson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the line which could have pulled the Eagles within two. The second came just a minute-and-a-half later after two makes at the stripe by Fieler, but the Buccaneers responded with a jumper.
The third, and final occasion, was the ultimate dagger. With 3:54 showing, Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) hit a floater in the lane for just two of his six points on the evening. ETSU rebutted with its 12th, and final, 3-pointer – this time off the fingers of Wilson at the top of the arc – to put the Bucs back up seven, 74-67. The Green and Blue could get no closer than six the rest of the night as they fell to second place in the A-Sun standings, one-half game behind idle Mercer (10-2), which plays host to Lipscomb Friday night.
After allowing ETSU to shoot 56.3 percent (9-16) from long range in the first half, the Eagles limited the Bucs to a 21.4-percent clip in the second stanza (3-14), including only one triple – the aforementioned Wilson dagger – in the final 18 minutes of the game. FGCU connected at 31.3 percent (10-32) in the first half before storming back with a 51.5-percent performance in the second (17-33) to finish, like ETSU, at 41 percent from the floor.
Rembert finished with a career-high 31 points, while all of Wilson’s 15 attempts from the field came from 3-point range as he tallied 18. A.J. Merriweather recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Hunter Harris secured one as well with 14 points and 12 boards. Jalen Riley rounded out the quintet of double-figure scorers with 11.
Dajuan Graf (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O. Berry Academy) filled the stat sheet for FGCU with five points, a career-high-tying five rebounds and a team-best five assists in a conference career-high 30 minutes off the bench. Thompson added seven rebounds – tied for his season high – but the Bucs won the battle on the glass, 48-40.
FGCU will look to rebound at third-place USC Upstate (15-11, 8-5 A-Sun) on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Eagles defeated the Spartans in the first meeting this year, 63-60. Upstate – which won at ETSU on Monday, 75-63 – was scheduled to face Stetson on Thursday night, but the game was postponed until Monday due to winter weather.
GAME NOTES: Comer finished four assists … FGCU committed 15 turnovers compared with nine for ETSU … Iona scored 90 points against FGCU earlier this year … Jacksonville netted 76 in A-Sun play, which was the most FGCU had allowed to a league foe this year until Thursday … the Eagles entered as the conference’s best defensive team, allowing just 65.3 points per game … Nate Hicks rejected three shots, while Eric McKnight had two of his own to go along with three points and five rebounds.
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.
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