Late Push Sends Stetson Past @FGCU_MBB in A-Sun/CSS Friday Night Game of the Week
Friday, February 22, 2013 | by Patrick Pierson (@Pierson_SID)
Thompson (@iHOOP_02) became FGCU's single-season record holder for steals on Friday. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Thompson (@iHOOP_02) became FGCU's single-season record holder for steals on Friday. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Florida Gulf Coast (19-10, 11-5 ASun)
Stetson (13-14, 10-6 ASun)
2/22/2013 | DeLand, Fla. (Edmunds Center) | Attendance: 1342
Florida Gulf Coast363571
Stats at a GlanceFGCUSTET
FG Percentage.406 (28-69) .542 (26-48)
3P FG Percentage.333 (9-27) .524 (11-21)
FT Percentage.545 (6-11) .773 (17-22)
Offensive Rebounds107
Defensive Rebounds1734
Total Rebounds2741
Bench Points84
Statistical LeadersFGCUSTET
PointsTHOMPSON - 19
ReboundsBROWN - 9
PEGG - 11
AssistsCOMER - 6
StealsTHOMPSON - 6
BlocksMCKNIGHT - 1

DELAND, Fla. – After erasing a double figure deficit midway through the second half, the FGCU men’s basketball team fell victim to a 9-0 Stetson run over the final 1:44 to drop a hard-fought 80-71 Atlantic Sun road contest Friday night at the Edmunds Center.

With just two regular season games remaining, FGCU (19-10, 11-5 A-Sun) sits a game up on the Hatters (13-14, 10-6 A-Sun) for second place in the A-Sun standings and is now a game and a half behind first place Mercer (19-9, 12-3 A-Sun). The Eagles will host the Bears in their next contest on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m.

The wild second half saw Stetson turn a two-point halftime deficit into the game’s largest lead (11), 55-44, with 10:48 to play, as the home team opened on a 21-8 run.

FGCU didn’t waver, fighting back with a 13-0 run that took just six possessions and just over two minutes off the clock to retake the lead, at 57-55. Senior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS), who had 14 of his 18 points in the second half, finished off the run with a tip-in and three-pointer.

The lead stayed in the Green and Blue’s favor until 3:55 to go when A-Sun All-Conference forward Adam Pegg, who was held to single-digits for just the second time this season, hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Hatters a 68-67 lead.

Pegg’s three-pointer was the first of three lead changes in a 1:07 span that ended with Stetson’s 11th three of the game from Hunter Miller with 2:48 left that made it a 71-69 count.

A layup by sophomore Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) on the ensuing possession knotted the game at 71-71, but that would be the last time the Eagles would score as it went the final two minutes without a point.

FGCU had a chance to take the lead with the score tied 71-71, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1, while Stetson made 7-of-8 from the free throw line over the final 1:44 to fuel its 9-0 run to finish the game.

“I’m proud of our team’s effort tonight. We played very hard,” said head coach Andy Enfield. ”We forced Stetson into 23 turnover with 12 steals, however, to win a close game on the road we needed to make more plays in the last two minutes. We missed two free throws and had three good looks from three by our top scorers and they were able to convert their shots and free throws to beat us. Looking back, I don’t think we would have done anything differently except make the shots.”

Sophomore Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) led FGCU with 19 points and tied a career-high with six steals to become the program’s single-season record holder with 82 thefts. It marked the sixth time this season Thompson has had five or more steals - his second six-steal performance against the Hatters - as the Eagles somewhat made up for their uncharacteristic 41 percent night (28-69) from the field by forcing Stetson into 23 turnovers that led directly to 22 points.

Brown followed Thompson with 18 points and finished one rebound shy of a double-double, but was just 7-of-19 from the field. As a team, FGCU was out-rebounded 41-27, as Stetson came down with 19 defensive rebounds in the second half to aid the strong finish.

Stetson senior Joel Naburgs turned in a career night with a game-high 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Naburgs led Stetson’s 11-of-21 night from three by making 6-of-9 and in the process became the school’s all-time leader in trifectas made. Junior Chris Perez added 19 points, Willie Green had 15 and Pegg had 10 of the team’s 34 defensive rebounds to go along with nine points.

The game’s other glairing difference came at the free throw line where the Eagles made 6-of-11 while the Hatters knocked down 17-of-22. Stetson overcame its 23 turnovers by shooting 54 percent (26-48) from the floor.

Comer and junior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) rounded out FGCU’s double figure scorers with 10 points each. Fieler’s 10 points included five rebounds, while Comer added six assists.