Brown, Thompson Help FGCU Race Past Samford, 86-62
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson (@Pierson_SID)
Brown equaled his season-high with 22 points, including 14 in the second half. (Photo by Michael Wade)
Brown equaled his season-high with 22 points, including 14 in the second half. (Photo by Michael Wade)
Florida Gulf Coast (5-3)
Samford (1-7)
11/28/2012 | Birmingham, Ala. (Pete Hanna Center) | Attendance: 1087
Florida Gulf Coast345286
Stats at a GlanceFGCUSAM
FG Percentage.518 (29-56) .418 (23-55)
3P FG Percentage.556 (10-18) .190 (4-21)
FT Percentage.750 (18-24) .632 (12-19)
Offensive Rebounds1710
Defensive Rebounds2715
Total Rebounds4425
Bench Points2328
Statistical LeadersFGCUSAM
PointsBROWN - 22
KELLY - 13
ReboundsFIELER - 9
AssistsCOMER - 10
StealsTHOMPSON - 3
BlocksMURRAY - 1

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Behind a pair of 20-point nights from senior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) and sophomore Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS), the FGCU men’s basketball team turned in its best offensive performance of the young season with a coast-to-coast 86-62 win at Samford Wednesday at the Pete Hanna Center.

The Eagles finish their hectic eight-game opening month of the season with a 5-3 record heading into Saturday night’s home showdown with MAAC favorite Loyola University Maryland (7-1), who is No. 21 in the Mid-Major Poll. Samford, who played at FGCU in the Battle 4 Atlantis last week, slips to 1-7.

“We’re a very good shooting team and tonight we did a great job of sharing the basketball to get open looks,” said second-year head coach Andy Enfield, who picked up his 20th career win in his 40th career game at FGCU.

Brown and Thompson combined for 43 points, including 26 in the second half, reaching double figures in the same game for the sixth time this season. Brown poured 14 of his game-high 22 points in the final 20 minutes, knocking down 4-of-6 from three. Thompson’s 21 points – his fourth 20-point game on the road this season – also featured eight rebounds and three steals.

Brown’s 4-for-6 performance from beyond the arc was part of a 10-for-18 night as a team, as five players helped the Eagles reached double-digit treys for third time. FGCU’s season-high 86 points came on 52 percent (29-56) shooting from the field, 18-of-24 from the free throw line and were aided by 17 offensive rebounds.

FGCU also finished on the plus-side of the assist-to-turnover ratio for the first time, led by sophomore point guard Brett Comer’s (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) fifth career double-digit assist night. Comer accounted for 10 of the team’s 17 assists.

Joining Brown and Thompson in double figures was sophomore Filip Cvjeticanin (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) and junior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Fieler, who added three dunks to his team-leading 11 and reached double figures for the fourth straight game, also corralled a team-high nine rebounds to contribute to FGCU’s dominating 44-25 edge on the glass. Cvjeticanin drilled 3-of-4 from downtown with all 12 of his points coming in the second half, while junior Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) added eight off the pine.

Holding a 12-5 leading after scoring 10 of the game’s first 12 points, FGCU opened things up with a 12-0 run that gave the visitor’s the largest lead of the game (19), 24-5, just over eight minutes into the half. The Green and Blue knocked down 6-of-9 shots during the spurt and 10-of-16 to open the game, including their first four three-pointers.

Samford limited FGCU to just 10 points over the final 12 minutes, cutting the Green and Blue’s lead at the half to 34-24.

A dunk by redshirt sophomore Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy/Iowa State) with 16:41 on the clock in the second half gave FGCU a 43-32 edge, a double-digit lead it would hold the rest of the game. The Eagles led for all but 15 seconds in the game when it was scoreless.

Defensively, FGCU limited its eighth straight opponent to start the season under 35 percent from beyond the arc, holding the Bulldogs to just 4-of-21 from deep and a 42 percent clip (23-55) from the field.

FGCU’s game against Loyola University Maryland on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. can be seen for free on A-Sun TV. Live in-game updates and other news on FGCU men’s hoops can be found on twitter @FGCU_MBB.