Brown, Comer Lead FGCU Past Ave Maria in Home Opener
|Florida Gulf Coast||31||48||79|
|Stats at a Glance||AMUM||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.362 (21-58)||.517 (31-60)|
|3P FG Percentage||.407 (11-27)||.391 (9-23)|
|FT Percentage||.706 (12-17)||.800 (8-10)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Sparked by 15 second half points from freshman Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) and Sherwood Brown’s (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) 19 points off the bench, the FGCU men’s basketball team picked up its first win under head coach Andy Enfield against Ave Maria, 79-64, in front of 1,547 fans in the home opener at Alico Arena Monday night.
FGCU created its first real separation of the game midway through the final frame, going on a 17-2 run over a seven-minute period that took what was a six-point lead and turned it into a the largest edge of the game (21), 58-37, for the Eagles with 9:02 play.
Ave Maria refused to go away, cutting the lead to single digits, 68-59, with 1:54 on the clock, but Comer and Brown combined for six of FGCU’s final 11 points over the final two minutes to help the home team even its record at 1-1.
“We’re proud of the team for winning the game, but we had some moments where we played a little sloppy, but give Ave Maria credit for that” said Enfield. “Our guards are very skilled and we just have to make smart decisions throughout the game. We appreciate the fan support. The whole student section was packed and we hope they keep supporting us as we continue to build this program the right way.”
Brown scored 10 of his 19 points in the first half, sinking 3-of-6 from three-point land, while also adding six rebounds and three steals. It was Comer’s turn in the second half, as the Winter Park, Fla. product reached double figures over the final 20 minutes alone for the second straight game. Comer finished 7-of-10 from the field for 17 points to go along with a game-high eight rebounds and four assists.
After shooting just 31 percent in the first half, the Eagles shot a sweltering 69 percent (18-26) from the floor in the second frame en route to 48 points. FGCU’s finished above 50 percent for the second consecutive contest with a 52 percent clip (31-60).
FGCU took advantage of its superior size to own a 44-27 advantage on the backboard and a 34-16 edge in points in the paint. Several of Brown’s 19 points came in the paint, while freshman Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) got into the lane for a majority of his 10 points and six rebounds.
Despite a pair of scoring streaks of 9-0 and 7-0, respectively, FGCU failed to create much separation in the first half thanks to just 3-of-15 shooting from long range and 10 turnovers. The Eagles took their largest lead of the half (9), 31-22, with 49 seconds in the opening frame, but the Gyrenes closed with five straight points to make it a 32-27 score at the break.
During FGCU’s decisive 17-2 second half run that closed with 12 consecutive points, the Eagles shot 7-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-4 from long range. Comer scored four points and assisted on three other baskets during the spurt, while freshman Dante Holmes (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances Academy/Oldsmar Christian) had five of his nine points in the game.
Sophomore Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Prep) knocked down a trio of three-pointers for 11 points to round out the quartet of players in double-digits for the Eagles. Holmes’ nine points off the pine contributed to the 37-10 edge in bench points.
Junior Kiel Lewis led all scorers with 20 points on 8-of-17 from the field for Ave Maria. The Gyrenes were limited to just 36 percent (21-58) shooting from the field.
FGCU will return to Alico Arena on Thursday night when it welcomes Prairie View A&M to campus. Tip time is slated for 7:05, while the game can also be heard live for free on www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.
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