Big Second Half Helps @FGCU_MBB Finish Off Season Sweep of North Florida
Thursday, January 31, 2013 | by Patrick Pierson (@Pierson_SID)
Murray was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field.
Murray was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field.
Florida Gulf Coast (15-8, 7-3 A-Sun)
North Florida (8-15, 3-7 A-Sun)
1/31/2013 | Jacksonville, Fla. | UNF Arena | Attendance: 1358
Florida Gulf Coast404989
North Florida403575
Stats at a GlanceFGCUUNF
FG Percentage.507 (35-69) .500 (28-56)
3P FG Percentage.522 (12-23) .316 (6-19)
FT Percentage.636 (7-11) .722 (13-18)
Offensive Rebounds1713
Defensive Rebounds1820
Total Rebounds3533
Bench Points1528
Statistical LeadersFGCUUNF
PointsFIELER - 22
SMITH - 20
ReboundsFIELER - 8
AssistsCOMER - 6
StealsBROWN - 3
BlocksTHOMPSON - 2

Eagles hold on to share of first place in Atlantic Sun

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Highlighted by a 49-point second half and its third straight 50 percent night from the field, the FGCU men’s basketball team held on to its share of first place in the Atlantic Sun with a 89-75 road win at North Florida on Thursday night at UNF Arena.

The top scoring team (73.9 ppg) in the A-Sun, FGCU’s offensive execution was at its best down the stretch, as the visitors scored 25 points in the final 8:03 to turn a three-point lead into a 14-point victory to snap a four-game losing streak at UNF Arena and earn its first season sweep of the Ospreys since 2007-08.

With the win, the Eagles (15-8) remain in a tie for first place in the A-Sun at 7-3 alongside Saturday’s opponent Jacksonville and USC Upstate, who were both victorious on Thursday. UNF slips to 8-15 overall and 3-7 in the A-Sun as its now dropped four in a row.

“That was as good of a finish we’ve had to a game this season and we needed it because they (UNF) gained momentum in the second half,” said Andy Enfield, who earned his 30th win as FGCU head coach and equaled last year’s D-1 single-season win record (15). “I thought all of our guys played well and, most importantly, played well together. This is a very good start to the second half of league play.”

FGCU fell just one point short of hitting the 90-point plateau for the second straight game, as it shot 51 percent (35-69) from the floor and 12-of-23 from three. The Eagles improved to 8-0 when shooting over 50 percent this season, while they have now scored at least 70 points in nine straight games and are averaging 77.4 in A-Sun action.

Junior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) led the five FGCU players in double figures with a career-high 22 points and eight rebounds, including six offensive. Fieler has now reached double figures in a career-best nine straight games, hitting 8-of-12 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Out of the 49 second half FGCU points, 17 came from senior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS), who finished just one point shy of reaching 20 points for the fourth straight game. Brown hit 4-of-6 from three en route to 19 points and added seven rebounds. Sophomore point guard Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) finished with a season-high 17 points and passed out six assists.

Holding a one-possession lead, 64-61, with just over eight minutes to play, FGCU was virtually unstoppable on the offensive end the rest of the way, scoring on 11 of its final 12 possessions to pull away. Six offensive rebounds over that span helped the Eagles extended possessions and hold a double figure advantage for all but 17 seconds over the final 7:30.

UNF also hit the 50 percent (28-56) mark from the floor, but was out-scored 19-8 on points off turnovers thanks to 17 miscues. Senior Parker Smith led UNF with 20 points and brought his season three-point total to 92 with four more trifectas. Junior Travis Wallace added 14 points and seven boards, while the Ospreys’ bench provided 28 points.

Sophomore Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Fla./Rockdale County HS) scored 13 points and gave 34 solid minutes on the defensive end, highlighted by two blocks that erased layups. Redshirt senior Eddie Murray (North Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) was a perfect 5-of-5 off the bench with five rebounds, including four offensive.

With at least a share of first place on the line, FGCU will cap its road trip at Jacksonville on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. The game can be seen live on A-Sun.TV or heard live on www.FGCUATHLETICS.com with Tom James and J. Webb Horton on the call. Follow @FGCU_MBB on twitter for updates leading up to and during the game.