FGCU Falls to No. 2 Michigan State in Season Opener
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team opened its 2009-10 campaign Friday night with a 97-58 loss to No. 2 Michigan State at the Breslin Center.
Friday’s game marked the highest ranked opponent that FGCU has faced, and the second consecutive season that the Eagles have opened up against a ranked opponent. Last season, FGCU opened the season at No. 23 Kansas.
FGCU started off strong, scoring the game’s first four points. Derrick O’Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.) scored the first basket after he stripped Kalin Lucas and took it the length of the court for the easy layup.
Forward Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) added his first points of the night after another O’Neil steal. In the first four minutes of the contest, the Eagles forced four Spartan turnovers
Durrell Summers put the Spartans on the board at the 18:27 mark on a dunk that woke up the Michigan State crowd.
The game would see seven lead changes in the first half. The Eagles scored four more go-ahead baskets until Summers' dunk off Chris Allen's lob put the Spartans ahead 18-17 midway through the first half.
Michigan State finished the half on a 21-6 run, and entered the locker room with 44-27 lead.
In the second half, the Eagles would only come within nineteen points as the Spartans went on to win their 33rd straight home opener and 40th nonconference game in a row at the Breslin Center.
Summers scored 14 of his 17 points before halftime and Lucas had 14 of his 21 points in the second half.
"How we played early is what we're going to focus on, and not so much the second half," said Eagles head coach Dave Balza, a Michigan graduate. "I don't think people realize how quick they are. We played Kansas last year and there's no doubt, Michigan State is a faster team."
O’Neil pitched in seven points and a team best four assists for the Eagles. Senior forward Kyle Marks (West Palm Beach, Fla.) scored seven points and grabbed seven boards.
Allen had 10 points and five assists and reserve Korie Lucious added 11 points and eight assists for the Spartans. Derrick Nix scored 11 points and grabbed 14 rebounds -- a record for a Michigan State freshman in his debut -- in just 15 minutes.
FGCU returns to action on Thursday (Nov. 19) against Prairie View A&M for the first of two games in the lone star state. The Eagles will meet Southern Methodist on Saturday (Nov. 21) before wrapping up their four game road trip at Miami (Nov. 25).
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