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FGCU Flies Past Ave Maria, 86-54
|Florida Gulf Coast||40||46||86|
|Stats at a Glance||AMUM||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.308 (16-52)||.545 (30-55)|
|3P FG Percentage||.333 (6-18)||.579 (11-19)|
|FT Percentage||.696 (16-23)||.750 (15-20)|
Matt Chattin - 5
Mike Coyle - 5
VARIDEL - 2
Mike Coyle - 2
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s basketball team used a balanced attack with four players scoring in double-figures as it led from start to finish in a convincing, 86-54, win over Ave Maria on Thursday night in front of 1,113 fans at Alico Arena.
The victory moves the Eagles to 2-1 on the young season as they have now started each of the last three seasons with a 2-1 record, while the loss was the first of the year for the Gyrenes as they fall to 3-1.
FGCU had some trouble finding its rhythm early on as the pesky Ave Maria defense forced the Eagles into several rushed possessions. However, once the Green and Blue got settled in offensively they never looked back using a 21-6 run starting at the 12:32 mark to take a 35-14 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the first half. Five different Eagles scored during the stretch, including sophomore Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) who hit two three-pointers during the run.
Junior guard Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) was key for FGCU during the first half as he recorded eight points and five rebounds helping to lead the Eagles to a 40-23 halftime lead.
The second half was more of the same as the Eagles used their size and athleticism to wear down the Gyrenes. FGCU shot 58 percent from the field in the second half as it pushed its lead to as much as 35 points.
Varidel (17), Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) (13), Thompson (11) and Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) (11) all scored in double-figures in the win. Varidel’s 17 points led all scorers in the game, while his seven rebounds set a new career-high. Freshman DaJuan Graff (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O. Berry Academy) also had a solid night for the Eagles as he recorded nine points, four rebounds and seven assists in 27 minutes of action.
“I was happy with the way we played tonight, but there were some stretches where we got lazy and turned the ball over a little bit,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “Ave Maria was very gritty and played hard, but I thought we executed better in the second half as we will now get ready for Duke on Sunday.”
The Eagles found the range from three-point land in tonight’s win as well shooting .579 percent (11-for-19), compared to posting a .209 clip (5-of-24) in the previous two games combined.
FGCU will now take on its first ranked opponent since playing No. 2 Ohio State on Dec. 15, 2010 when it travels to Durham, N.C. for a matchup against No. 9 Duke on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
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