GAME PREVIEW: FGCU Looks For First 2-0 A-Sun Start Against USC Upstate
|Florida Gulf Coast||33||42||75|
|Stats at a Glance||UPST||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.397 (25-63)||.464 (26-56)|
|3P FG Percentage||.292 (7-24)||.471 (8-17)|
|FT Percentage||.852 (23-27)||.556 (15-27)|
CANTINOL - 6
TEAM - 6
COMER - 3
COOK - 2
FGCU (3-6, 1-0 A-SUN) vs. USC Upstate (7-5, 1-0 A-Sun)
DATE: Monday, Dec. 19, 2011
CITY: Fort Myers, Fla.
SITE: Alico Arena (4,500)
TIP-OFF: 7:30 p.m. ET
LIVE VIDEO: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
LIVE AUDIO: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
TALENT: Gary Sharp (P-B-P)
J. Webb Horton (Analyst)
LIVE STATS: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
SERIES: FGCU leads, 5-2
LAST MEETING: FGCU 81, @USC Upstate 65 - Feb. 28, 2011
CURRENT STREAK: L1
LAST 5 A-SUN GAMES: 4-1
AT A GLANCE
After having a lengthy 11-day break from game action, FGCU returns to the hardwood on Monday night when it hosts USC Upstate in an Atlantic Sun Conference showdown to start a three-game homestand at Alico Arena. The Eagles will look to improve to 2-0 in the A-Sun for the first time in program history since joining the league in 2007-08. FGCU is a perfect 3-0 at home this season with five different players averaging at least nine points at Alico Arena. On the flipside, USC Upstate is closing out a four-game, 10-day road trip that began with contests at Dayton and No. 2 Ohio State. The Spartans opened their A-Sun slate on Saturday at Stetson by overcoming a 12-point deficit en route to a convincing 79-63 victory.
FGCU swept the season series in 2010-11, winning the pair of games by an average of 24 points to take a 5-2 edge in the all-time series. The Eagles are 3-1 at Alico Arena against the Spartans and prior to last year four of the first five meetings were decided by 10 points or less. FGCU limited reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year TORREY CRAIG to a combined 7-of-32 from the field over two games last season. Then-freshman CHASE FIELER scored a career-high 17 points in FGCU's home win over Upstate last season, while SHERWOOD BROWN also hit a career-best in the season final on the road with 26 points.
Dating back to the final five A-Sun games of last season, the Eagles have won five of their last six conference games. With a win on Monday, FGCU can go to 2-0 in the A-Sun for the first time and also extend its home win streak to four games, which would be the longest run since 2008-09.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
Coming off a strong second half in a win at Stetson, USC Upstate enters Alico Arena with an overall record of 7-5. The Spartans are playing their fifth straight road game and sixth game of the month of December. Like the Eagles, Upstate sports a youthful lineup that included four underclassmen in its starting five last time out. Reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year Torrey Craig is the only player in the conference to rank in the top five in both scoring and rebounding. Craig, who has reached 20 points in five of the last seven games, is second in the A-Sun at 16.8 points per game and fourth with 7.4 rebounds. Freshman guard Ty Greene is coming off his second 20-point game of the season in which he went for 21 points. Craig and Greene account for 43 of Upstate's 63 made three-pointers on the year. Redshirt sophomore Ricardo Glenn and sophomore Babatunde Olumuyiwa give the Spartans a pair of 6-foot-8 bodies that are active in the post. Glenn leads the A-Sun with 35 offensive caroms, while also adding 9.6 points per contest. Olumuyiwa is one of six Spartans that has double figure offensive rebounds on a club that leads the conference in offensive caroms (14.5) and averages 34.6 points per game in the paint.
NEW COACH, NEW HOPES
On March 31st, the FGCU men’s basketball program got a new look for its 10th season in program history when ANDY ENFIELD was named head coach. Enfield, who spent the previous five years as an assistant with Florida State, is the second head coach in FGCU’s brief history. While at FSU, Enfield was a part of two teams that advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and back-to-back clubs that lead the NCAA in defensive field goal percentage.
LAST GAME: Stellar Defensive Effort Falls Short at Nebraska, 51-50
LINCOLN, Neb. - Dylan Talley’s runner with 10.4 seconds left gave Nebraska a 51-50 lead and FGCU failed to get off the potential game-winning shot, as the Eagles dropped a heartbreaker in Big Ten country on Wednesday night at the Devaney Center. • The Eagles trailed 49-47 with less than three minutes to play until sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL’S 100th career three-pointer gave the visitors a one-point edge, 50-49, with 1:23 remaining. • FGCU stopped Nebraska’s initial play to get the ball inside to Jorge Brian Diaz so Talley retrieved the ball at the right wing and drove the baseline for the runner with 10.4 seconds left. • Following a timeout with 7.1 seconds on the clock, FGCU in-bounded the ball from in front of its bench to freshman BERNARD THOMPSON who used a stagger screen to drive into the lane. Thompson kicked the ball out to Varidel on the right wing, but he never got the shot off as the buzzer sounded before the ball left his hands. • For the fifth time this season, FGCU’s top scorer came from the bench, as junior SHERWOOD BROWN had 14 points on 6-of-10 from the field over 31 minutes. Freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN also came off the pine, knocking down a quartet of threes to account for all 12 of his points.
All six of FGCU's road losses on the young season have been by 10 points or less and have come by a combined 22 points. The Eagles' six road opponents so far this season currently all have a winning record and a combined mark of 39-18. A trio of one-point defeats in Dallas against TCU (73-72) and SMU (65-64), and at Nebraska (51-50) headline the heartbreaking losses. On the road, FGCU is shooting a respectable 44 percent from the floor and has out-rebounded five of six opponents.
Seven different players have reached double figures in a game, while four different players have led the team in scoring, including three off the bench. Looking further, junior Sherwood Brown became the first player to lead the team in scoring in two straight games against ETSU and Nebraska, while no player has led FGCU in rebounding in back-to-back games. Six players are playing 20 or more minutes per game, while nine players are above 13 per contest.
First-year head coach ANDY ENFIELD has used seven different lineups through 10 games trying to find the right combination with his young team. Nine different players have started at least one game, while four freshmen have earned a starting nod. No one has started every game, while three freshmen were in the starting five last game at Nebraska. At least four underclassmen have started in all but two games.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU
Highlighted by his first career double-double at Miami and a recent 20-point outing against ETSU, junior SHERWOOD BROWN has carried over a strong finish to his sophomore campaign into this season. Brown has reached double figures five times, leading the team in scoring (12.0) and is tied for second in rebounding (5.2) - figures that rank 10th and 17th in the A-Sun, respectively. Sparked by a career-high 26 points in last year's season finale at USC Upstate, Brown finished last February (10 games) with a 11.2 scoring average - more than four points above his season mark. Brown reached double figures in each of the final four games, averaging 18.3 points while leading the team in scoring three times. Brown's strong end to last season was capped by a career-high 26 points at USC Upstate that included seven three-pointers.
WE’LL PICK YOU UP
Through nine games, FGCU owns a 260-178 advantage in bench points, good for a +9.1 margin per game. The bench has supplied a double figure scorer in seven games, including the team's leading scorer on five occasions, while supplying 25+ points seven times as a unit. At SMU, sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL poured in 20 points on 6-of-7 from three-point land, while junior SHERWOOD BROWN'S 19 points against Ave Maria to account for the top two efforts off the bench. At Loyola Maryland, FGCU received a season-high 44 points off the bench, highlighted by a game-high 17 from Varidel and BERNARD THOMPSON.
A big part of the early success of the FGCU bench has been the performances by freshman BERNARD THOMPSON and sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL off the pine. Both have also been in the starting lineup, but have turned in season-highs off the bench. Thompson has reached double figures all three games off the bench, averaging 14.7 points while shooting 53 percent (16-30). Varidel's 10.7 points per game average off the pine is three points better than his average in the starting five. Varidel poured in 20 points at SMU and 17 at Loyola Maryland to lead the team in scoring both times.
Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is starting to find his stroke that helped him finish fifth in the nation among all freshmen in 2010-11 with 78 three-pointers. Varidel has made 17 of his last 28 three-point attempts to move into first in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.524) and is tied for second in threes per game (2.4). Varidel's 2.4 threes per game are just below the 2.5 average required to rank among the NCAA leaders in three-point percentage. The Versoix, Switzerland native has made three or more treys in a game five times this season, including the last three games. He has also reached double-digits three times.
Ranking among the leaders in the Atlantic Sun Conference in three statistical categories, freshman BRETT COMER is off to a fast start early in the year. Highlighted by a 10-assist effort against Prairie View and ETSU, Comer is second in the A-Sun and fifth among all freshmen nationally in assists per game (5.4). He has reached double figures in four games, resulting in 9.0 points per game. Comer has led the team in assists in all but one game.
Coming off a season in which he played just 84 total minutes, redshirt junior EDDIE MURRAY is thriving under the guidance of first-year head coach ANDY ENFIELD. Armed with athleticism and leadership, Murray is providing a youthful roster with career-highs of 6.6 points and 3.8 points per game. The Fort Myers product is shooting a scalding 67 percent (24-36) from the floor over 21 minutes per game. Murray has started the last three contests, playing a team-high 29.7 minutes per game with averages of 8.0 points and 4.0 rebounds.
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