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Top-Seeded @FGCU_MBB Begins #ASunMBB Title Defense At Home Tuesday vs. Stetson
|Stats at a Glance||STET||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.362 (21-58)||.481 (26-54)|
|3P FG Percentage||.300 (6-20)||.333 (6-18)|
|FT Percentage||.583 (7-12)||.792 (19-24)|
GLASFORD - 1
A-Sun Championship Quarterfinal
No. 8 Stetson (7-23, 5-13 A-Sun)
DUNK CITY, Fla. – With a second consecutive 20-win season already secured and the program’s first Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season championship wrapped up, the FGCU men’s basketball team (20-11, 14-4 A-Sun) begins its conference title defense Tuesday at Alico Arena in a quarterfinal matchup as the top-seeded Eagles take on eighth-seeded Stetson (7-23, 5-13 A-Sun) on ESPN3 at 7 p.m.
WHAT TO KNOW
• Only 350 tickets, including the standing-room-only allotment, remain for the game. Tickets are expected to sell out before game time, so fans are encouraged to purchase theirs during the day.
• The Ticket Office opens at 9 a.m., and students can still secure their tickets on a first-come, first-served basis by showing their Eagle ID. For additional ticket inquiries, visit the link at the top of this release or call 239-590-7145.
• The FGCU baseball team hosts Michigan at 2 p.m. All fans with a ticket to the basketball game will be admitted free of charge to the baseball game.
• Fans are encouraged to wear blue to create a BLUEOUT atmosphere in Alico Arena.
HOW TO FOLLOW
The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app, 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. David Moulton will handle the play-by-play duties with J. Webb Horton serving as the analyst.
ESPN Radio 99.3 FM will also carry the game locally with Mark Miller on the call. Fans outside the area can access the broadcast online by clicking the link at the top of the release or by utilizing the iRadioNow mobile app. Live in-game and behind-the-scenes updates will be available through Twitter (@FGCU_MBB) and Instagram (@FGCU_MBB), and live stats can be accessed by following the link at the top of the release.
FGCU IN THE A-SUN CHAMPIONSHIP
This is only FGCU’s third year eligible for the A-Sun Championship after going through a four-year Division-I reclassification period from 2007-11. In its first two seasons, FGCU advanced to the title game both years. The Green and Blue went 2-0 in 2012 as a No. 6 seed before losing to Belmont in the final and then won all three of their games en route to the title in 2013.
The 5-1 record (.833 winning percentage) is the best in A-Sun Championship history among current league members, and in their one loss the Eagles had a halftime lead. In the 33-year history of the A-Sun Championship, the No. 1 seed has won the title 12 times, including in 2011 and 2012, with FGCU – the No. 2 seed – defeating Mercer – the No. 1 seed – on its home court last year.
FGCU is 1-0 all-time in tournament play against Stetson as the Eagles claimed a 72-58 decision in the semifinals last year over the third-seeded Hatters. No. 1 seeds are 57-22 (.721) all-time in the tournament, while No. 8 seeds are 8-28 (.222). In the 27 previous meetings between No. 1 and No. 8 seeds, the No. 1 seed has won 22 times.
TWEETABLES (5 Things To Know In 140 Characters Or Less)
• FGCU’s 20 wins are the second most in program Division-I history, and the victory over Northern Kentucky Saturday was the 100th D-I win.
• Chase Fieler surpassed Sherwood Brown for third place on the program’s all-time scoring list with 22 at NKU and now has 1,246.
• The Eagles turned the ball over a season-low-tying seven times against the Norse, equaling their total set in the first meeting of the season.
• Fieler and Bernard Thompson, who is 32 points shy of the program’s all-time scoring record (1,367), each have a program-record 464 made field goals.
• Jamail Jones is averaging 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds over the past six games, with the 47 rebounds in that time leading the team.
THREE OF THE BEST
Comer and Thompson were both named to the A-Sun First Team, while lone senior Fieler landed on the Second Team, as voted on by the league coaches and announced by conference officials Monday. Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) and Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) both garnered all-conference honors for the first time, while Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) secured a spot on the second team for the second consecutive year. FGCU is the only team in the league to have two first-team selections as the Eagles placed two players on the first team for first time in program history. Furthermore, Comer and Thompson are just the second and third players in FGCU history to be named to the first team as Sherwood Brown became the initial member last season.
HOW WE GOT HERE
FGCU fell at Lipscomb Thursday, 92-71, momentarily knocking the Eagles into second place. However, minutes later Mercer lost in overtime to UNF, moving FGCU back into a first-place tie with the Bears. On Friday, FGCU needed a USC Upstate win over ETSU to have its best chance at the No. 1 seed, and the Eagles got just that. With a victory Saturday versus Northern Kentucky, 92-72, FGCU locked up the regular-season title, No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the tournament.
Dating back to last year, FGCU has won 19 of its past 20 home games, and boasts a 28-2 record at Alico Arena since the start of the 2012-13 campaign: (Losses: Lipscomb, Iona). Last year, 10 of FGCU’s 11 losses came away from Alico Arena, and so far this season only one of the Eagles’ losses have occurred inside the friendly confines of The Nest where they are 13-1. The setback came at the hands of hot-shooting Iona, which is 20-9 overall and 17-3 in the MAAC as the Gaels won the regular-season championship by two games.
In conference action, FGCU was the only team in the A-Sun to post an undefeated mark against league opponents (9-0).
• Stetson is 1-14 on the road this season with their lone road victory coming at Kennesaw State, 68-65.
• The Hatters have lost six straight, and nine of their last 10, to close out the regular season.
• Stetson, a member of the league since 1986, has been to two A-Sun Championship games (1987 and 1994), losing both by three points.
• Willie Green leads Stetson as its lone double-figure scorer, averaging 13.6 points per game.
• Stetson averages just 62 points per game, 334th in the nation out of 345 teams.
• The Hatters are also one of the worst rebounding teams in the country as their -6.3 rebound margin ranks 337th.
• A-Sun All-Freshman Team member Brian Pegg scores 8.5 points per game and averages a team-best 6.4 rebounds per outing.
FGCU went 2-0 against Stetson during the regular season, earning a 68-55 win in the first meeting in DeLand and a 71-68 victory in Alico thanks to a game-winning 3-pointer by Thompson.
In the first meeting, Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy/Iowa State) turned in a stellar performance with a team-high eight rebounds to go along with 14 points on a perfect 7-7 from the field. At the time, the 7-7 effort was the best in program history for someone who had attempted at least five shots.
In the second game, FGCU raced out to a 15-point lead, 28-13, before Stetson fought back and tied the game at 68-68 with 22 seconds left on a put-back. After an FGCU timeout, Comer started to drive but was cut off at the elbow and shoveled a pass to Thompson who had relocated to the wing right in front of the Eagles’ bench. The junior pulled up and knocked down a contested effort for the final of his team-high 17 points.
FGCU leads the all-time series with Stetson, 9-6, including a 5-2 mark at Alico Arena, a 3-4 record on the road and a 1-0 showing in the lone neutral-court meeting in last year’s semifinals in Macon, Ga.
REBOUNDING: In A-Sun games, FGCU finished with the second-best rebounding margin at +4.1, while Stetson was last at -6.2. FGCU outrebounded Stetson in the first game this year, 44-28, and narrowly outrebounded the Hatters in the second game, 34-32. Over the last four games, FGCU has outrebounded every opponent, including three double-figure margins in that time of +19 (Mercer), +12 (Kennesaw State) and +18 (Northern Kentucky). Stetson is 3-20 on the year when being outrebounded, while FGCU is 16-2 when outrebounding its opponents.
DEFENDING: In conference games, FGCU was one of only three teams to hold opponents below 70 points per game (67.9), while Stetson ranked last in the league in conference scoring at 63 per outing. Furthermore, the Eagles finished second in the A-Sun in conference field-goal percentage, allowing opponents to shoot just 40.5 percent from the floor. On the year, Stetson is 1-10 when shooting 40 percent or worse and FGCU is a perfect 11-0 when holding its opponent to 40 percent or below from the floor.
MISC: When Stetson’s opponent scores 70 or more points, the Hatters are 1-16 on the year. FGCU has scored at least 70 points in 10 straight games.
Another standing-room-only sellout crowd (4,633) is expected for Tuesday’s game, which would mark FGCU’s fifth such game this year and 11th sellout (4,333, not including 300 standing-room-only tickets). FGCU led the A-Sun in home attendance at 4,267 – 92 percent of Alico’s capacity (33rd-best in the nation) – in the regular season, 40 percent higher than the next-closest team (ETSU, 2,551). The averaged increased to 4,432 during the Eagles’ nine A-Sun games, 41 percent more than the 2,696 Mercer had in the same time.
In just 14 home games this year FGCU has already nearly surpassed its total home attendance from the last two years combined. FGCU has had 59,737 fans so far this year compared with the 36,648 in 2012-13 and the 24,845 in 2011-12. On Tuesday, FGCU will surpass its combined attendance for the last two years in the 2013-14 campaign alone.
COMING ON STRONG
FGCU has claimed 45 percent (27 of 60) of its all-time A-Sun victories in the last two seasons. The Eagles joined the league in 2007-08 and went 13-5 last year and 14-4 this season.
• Thompson is coming off his first career double-double at Northern Kentucky on Saturday as he posted 14 points to go along with a season-high 11 rebounds for just the fourth double-double of his career.
• Thompson (385), Comer (315) and Fieler (301) are the only three players in program history who have attempted at least 300 free throws.
With a win, FGCU will host a semifinal matchup against either No. 4 ETSU or No. 5 Lipscomb at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 6, on CSS. A win in that contest will propel the Eagles to the championship final, which FGCU will host on Sunday, Mar. 9, on ESPN2 at 2 p.m.
For Atlantic Sun Conference Championship ticket information and sales, visit the Alico Arena Ticket Office, call 239-590-7145 or log on to FGCUAthletics.com.