GAME PREVIEW: Men's Basketball Hosts Lipscomb
Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Lipscomb (7-5, 2-1) vs. FGCU (3-9, 0-3)
Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011
CITY: Fort Myers, Fla.
SITE: Alico Arena (4,500)
TIP-OFF: 7:30 p.m. ET
TALENT: Tom James (Play-by-Play)
J. Webb-Horton (Analyst)
SERIES: Lipscomb leads, 4-1
LAST MEETING: Lipscomb 93, FGCU 75
Feb. 18, 2010 
LAST GAME: Belmont 83, FGCU 51 - Jan. 3

FGCU will close out its four-game homestand by hosting its second straight Atlantic Sun co-defending regular season champ in Lipscomb on Wednesday night at Alico Arena. The Eagles will look to put an end to a four-game A-Sun losing streak that dates back to last season, while the Bisons enter on a three-game skid of their own.

Lipscomb leads the all-time series by a 4-1 margin after sweeping the season series in 2009-10. FGCU's lone win over the Bisons came at Alico Arena in February of 2009 when Reed Baker came off the bench to lead four players in double figures with 23 points in 29 minutes. In four career games against Lipscomb, Baker is averaging 20.3 points. The Eagles are 1-2 against Lipscomb at Alico Arena.

Wednesday night's game features four of the Atlantic Sun's top 5 scorers in Lipscomb's Adnan Hodzic (20.3) and Josh Slater (17.1) against FGCU's REED BAKER (16.2) and ANTHONY BANKS (15.9). Hodzic and Slater rank one and two, respectively, in scoring and both have reached double figures in all 12 games. Either Baker or Banks has led the Eagles in scoring in 34 of their 41 contests together.

Lipscomb enters the game on a season-worst three-game losing streak after falling at Stetson, 76-66, on Monday night. The Bisons stand at 7-5 overall and 2-1 in the Atlantic Sun under 12th-year head coach Scott Sanderson. Lipscomb preceded their recent skid with a five-game win streak that concluded with 197 points over the final two games. Led by senior All-American candidate Adnan Hodzic, Lipscomb ranks second in the conference in scoring at 79.8 points per game thanks to five contests of 90 points or more. Hodzic, the reigning A-Sun Player of the Year, leads the league in scoring (20.3) and rebounding (8.4). Hodzic has six 20-point games this season and has reached double figures in 69 straight contests dating back to his sophomore year. Senior guard Josh Slater (17.1) teams with Hodzic to give Lipscomb the highest scoring tandem in the A-Sun. Slater has reached double figures in 31 consecutive games, while also ranking among the A-Sun leaders in rebounding (7.3/3rd), assists (4.9/4th) and steals (2.4/2nd).

Dave Balza
@ FGCU: 146-109 (9th Season)
Overall: 181-158 (12th Season)
Atlantic Sun: 18-41 (4th Season)
Vs. Lipscomb: 1-4

Scott Sanderson
@ Lipscomb: 187-157 (12th Season)
Overall: 271-182 (15th Season)
Atlantic Sun: 67-48 (10th Season)
Vs. FGCU: 4-1

Junior MARLON RIVERA earned some recognition from the conference office last Wednesday when he was named the A-Sun Newcomer of the Week. The Santa Fe CC transfer averaged 7.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 10.0 assists over two games against N.C. Central and IUPUI.

The inside-out combination of redshirt sophomore forward ANTHONY BANKS and senior guard REED BAKER give FGCU the second-highest scoring duo in the A-Sun. Both have finished in double figures in eight of 12 games and have led the Eagles in scoring 34 of their 41 contests together, including 11 of 12 contests this season. For their careers, both have reached double figures in the same game 20 times, while the duo has combined to score 35 or more points six times this season and 40 or more three times.

After making just 29 three-pointers over the first seven games, FGCU has bounced back by making 36 in its last five contests. The Eagles' 10 threes at Toledo and 11 against N.C. Central marked the first time since the last two games of the 2004-05 season that the Blue and Green had made double-digit trifectas in consecutive contests.

Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS has been on a strict offensive rebounding diet, collecting a staggering 48 offensive boards this season, including nine against ACC foe Miami which equaled his career-best. Banks leads the A-Sun in offensive rebounds per game (4.0). Banks has grabbed five or more offensive rebounds in a game seven times this season and 16 for his career. He ranks seventh in the A-Sun at 6.7 caroms per contest. With two more offensive rebounds, Banks will have 150 for his career to become the fourth player in program history to accomplish the feat.

Junior MARLON RIVERA has taken over the reins of the point guard position and leads the A-Sun in assists per game (32nd nationally) at a 5.5 clip. Rivera has led the team in assists 10 times, highlighted by five outings with seven helpers or more. On Dec. 21 in a win over N.C. Central, Rivera dished out 12 assists - the second-most in the program's Division I history and one of three double-digit performances by an A-Sun player this season.

After transferring to FGCU after his freshman season at Michigan, senior REED BAKER is having the best season of his collegiate career. Baker ranks fourth in the A-Sun in scoring at 16.2 points per game and has finished in double figures in nine games, including 20 or more four times. The Naples, Fla. product is one of two players in the A-Sun with two or more games of 25+ points.

The versatility of ANTHONY BANKS is on full display again this season. Banks is second on the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game while leading in field goal percentage (.529), rebounding (6.7) and offensive rebounds (48). Banks has led the team in scoring seven times, rebounding seven times and both in the same game on six occasions. He's reached double figures in a team-best 11 games while posting a league-best four double-doubles.

Not equipped with a lot of size in the paint, FGCU makes up for it by staying active on the offensive glass. Led by ANTHONY BANKS, the Eagles rank third in the A-Sun in offensive rebounds per game (13.3). FGCU has grabbed double figure offensive boards in 37 of its last 42 games, including 10 this season. Banks is a year removed from grabbing 100 offensive caroms and just two away from 150 for his career.

Redshirt sophomore ANTHONY BANKS' four double-doubles in 12 games are just one off his total from all of last year. Banks is trying to track down Landon Alder's single-season Division I record of six set in 2007-08. Alder is the all-time leader with 22 career double-doubles, while Banks is third with nine.

With his strong play on both ends of the court, junior MARLON RIVERA is one of two players in the A-Sun in the top 15 in assists per game, top 5 in rebounds per game and top 5 in steals. The FGCU floor general's 5.6 rebounds per game are tied for 15th in the A-Sun, while he's third in steals per game (2.0). Rivera also averages 6.3 points and has reached double figures three times.

20/20 VISION
The A-Sun's fourth leading scorer, senior REED BAKER has reached the 20-point plateau four times this season. Baker was joined by junior TIM SNYDER in the 20-point club at Grambling, while ANTHONY BANKS scored 21 points to Baker's 20 against Miami, while the duo combined for 46 points against N.C. Central. The three games marked the fourth, fifth and sixth time, respectively, that a pair of players has gone for at least 20 points in the same game since FGCU joined Division I. Baker has been a part of five of the six occasions. The Naples, Fla. product has 13 career 20-point games.

With a fast start to his senior campaign, REED BAKER is rapidly approaching the 1000-point plateau for his FGCU career. Thanks to his team-best 16.2 points per game, Baker is just 59 points away from becoming the third player in program history to score 1,000 points. He currently sits in fourth place all-time with 941 points and has a 13.1 scoring average over 72 games.

Along with his scoring prowess, senior REED BAKER has upped his game on the defensive end with 21 steals. A year ago, Baker registered just 25 steals and is just four away from equaling that total. With 11 steals over his last four games, junior MARLON RIVERA has surpassed Baker with 24 steals to rank third in the A-Sun (2.0). For his career, Baker has 18 multi-steal games, highlighted by seven against ETSU on Jan. 12, 2009 - the second most in single-game history.