FGCU Readies For Home Opener Vs. Southeast Missouri
Monday, November 15, 2010

DATE: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
SITE: Alico Arena (4,500)
TIP-OFF: 7:05 p.m. ET
TOURNAMENT: Razorback Showcase
FGCU AUDIO: www.FGCUathleticsc.com
TALENT: Tom James (Play-by-Play)
LIVE STATS: www.FGCUathletics.com
LIVE VIDEO: Atlantic Sun TV
SERIES: First Meeting
LAST GAME: Indiana 88, FGCU 60 - Nov. 12

After opening its season in Big Ten country for the second consecutive year, FGCU returns to the friendly confines of Alico Arena for its home opener against Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday evening. The Eagles took an 88-60 loss last Friday at Indiana, while the Redhawks lost at UAB, 88-56. FGCU is 6-2 all-time in openers at Alico Arena and 5-3 in home openers in general. The first-ever men's basketball game was played at then-Teco Arena in 2002.

Tuesday's game will mark the first time FGCU and SEMO have squared-off. The Eagles' first four games come against teams they've never faced until they host Miami on Nov. 27. In all, the 2010-11 FGCU schedule features seven teams its never faced.

After having successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot over the summer, Atlantic Sun preseason All-Conference forward ANTHONY BANKS played a team-high 26 minutes at Indiana. The 2009-10 A-Sun All-Freshmen team choice suffered the same injury on the opposite foot prior to the start of his true-freshman season. Banks was expected to be out until the start of A-Sun play in December.

Tonight's game is part of the Razorback Challenge in which FGCU will play Southeast Missouri State and travel to Grambling (Nov. 20) and Arkansas (Nov. 22). The four-team tournament run by Arkansas gives each team at least one home game, while the Razorbacks will play all three of their games at home.

In its second season under head coach Dickey Nutt, Southeast Missouri State was picked to finish ninth in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) preseason poll, with Murray State predicted to win the league. The Redhawks produced seven wins in 2009-10, more than the previous two years combined. Southeast enters Tuesday night on a nine-game losing streak dating back to last season after suffering a 78-56 setback to UAB last Saturday in its season opener. Junior forward Leon Powell continued his successful return from injury with double-double (11 pts, 11 reb.) against the Blazers. Powell missed the entire 2009-10 season with a knee injury, but has fully recovered by also averaging 30 points over a pair of exhibition games. Junior guard Nick Niemcyzk turned in a big game off the bench against UAB, going for a team-best 19 points, six rebounds and four assists over 34 minutes. Southeast Missouri entered the Division I ranks in 1991-92 and sports a roster that features eight upperclassmen.

Tuesday night's game against Southeast Missouri will be FGCU's third-ever against a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). The Eagles last faced a member of the OVC at the beginning of the 2007-08 season when it fell to Austin Peay at the South Padre Invitational.

@ FGCU: 143-102 (9th Season)
Overall: Same
Atlantic Sun: 18-38 (4th Season)
Vs. SEMO: First Meeting

Dickey Nutt
@ SEMO: 7-24 (2nd Season)
Overall: 196-211 (15th Season)
OVC: 3-15 (2nd Season)
Vs. FGCU: First Meeting

GCU welcomes back eight players from last year's club including its top two leading scorers in redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS (12.9 ppg) and senior REED BAKER (11.4 ppg). A combination of Banks or Baker led the Eagles in scoring 23 of 29 contests in 2009-10, while both reached double figures in the same game 12 times. They finished as the team's only double-digit scorers at Indiana. Banks' 16 points came on 4-of-7 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the charity stripe, while Banks had 12 points.

Not equipped with a lot of size in the paint, FGCU makes up for it by staying active on the offensive glass. Led by preseason All-Conference choice ANTHONY BANKS, the Eagles ranked third in the Atlantic Sun in 2009-10 in offensive rebounds per game (13.6). The Eagles were back at it again last Friday at Big Ten foe Indiana, grabbing 15 offensive caroms. FGCU has grabbed double figure offensive boards in 28 of its last 31 games dating back to the final contest of the 2008-09 season.

Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS leads the charge on the offensive glass after grabbing 100 offensive caroms in 2009-10. In just 30 career games, Banks has snared five or more offensive boards in a game 10 times, including five at Indiana. The Lantana, Fla. product has grabbed an offensive rebound in 29 straight games. Banks totaled nine offensive boards against Jacksonville (Jan. 9, 2010), starting a three-game stretch in which he grabbed 21.

After becoming just the fourth player in Atlantic Sun history to lead the conference in free throw percentage two straight years (08-09, 09-10), senior REED BAKER began the season by making all three of his attempts at Indiana. Belmont's Steve Drabyn is the only player in A-Sun history to lead the league three consecutive years. Baker has made 12 straight free throws.

The point guard position will be up for grabs at the beginning of the year, as sophomore returner HUNTER MILLER and junior college transfer MARLON RIVERA will battle for the reigns. Miller started the final seven games of last season and finished second on the club with 67 assists. Rivera, an All-Mid-Florida Conference first team choice at Santa Fe CC last year, brings a physical presence to the point guard spot. Rivera started at Indiana, passing out a team-high four assists.

The versatility of ANTHONY BANKS was on full display in 2009-10, as the then-redshirt freshman made his way onto the A-Sun's All-Rookie team. Banks led the Eagles in five different categories and was the only player to start all 29 games. Over the 29 games, Banks led FGCU in scoring 11 times and rebounding on 14 occasions, including both in the same game four times. Banks reached double figures in 21 games with five double-doubles.

FGCU's seven-member incoming class earned some praise from Hoop Scoop Online over the summer as the second-best class in the A-Sun Conference. Junior MARLON RIVERA and freshman CHASE FIELER earned starts in their first career game at IU. Not included in that ranking was Ole Miss transfer KEVIN CANTINOL, who is eligible after the first semester.