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GAME PREVIEW: FGCU Back at Home to Host North Florida
Friday, January 06, 2012
North Florida (9-8, 3-1 A-SUN)
at
Florida Gulf Coast (6-9, 2-3 A-SUN)
1/7/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. (Alico Arena) | Attendance: 2017
1st2nd1OT Final
North Florida28491188
Florida Gulf Coast4532481
Stats at a GlanceUNFFGCU
FG Percentage.509 (29-57) .477 (31-65)
3P FG Percentage.375 (9-24) .320 (8-25)
FT Percentage.778 (21-27) .611 (11-18)
Offensive Rebounds810
Defensive Rebounds2823
Total Rebounds3633
Turnovers2018
Steals910
Bench Points4826
Statistical LeadersUNFFGCU
PointsSMITH - 23
COMER - 19
ReboundsDIAZ - 8
BROWN - 6
MURRAY - 6
AssistsSMITH - 6
COMER - 6
StealsWILLIAMS - 2
WILSON - 2
SAUEY - 2
THOMPSON - 4
BlocksFIELER - 1
MURRAY - 1

GAMEDAY CENTRAL
FGCU (6-8, 2-2 A-SUN) vs. North Florida (8-8, 2-1 A-SUN)
DATE: Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012
CITY: Fort Myers, Fla.
SITE: Alico Arena (4,500)
TIP-OFF: 5:15 p.m. ET
LIVE VIDEO: www.ASUN.TV
LIVE AUDIO: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
TALENT: David Moulton (P-B-P)
J. Webb Horton (Analyst)
LIVE STATS: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
CURRENT STREAK: W1
LAST 5 GAMES: 3-2
AT HOME: 5-1
SERIES: FGCU leads, 6-5
AT FGCU: FGCU leads, 3-2
LAST MEETING: UNF 53, @FGCU 51 – Feb. 26, 2011

AT A GLANCE
Coming off its first road win under head coach Andy Enfield, FGCU will look to continue the momentum of winning three of its last four games when it hosts in-state foe North Florida in an Atlantic Sun showdown Saturday evening at Alico Arena. The Eagles enter Saturday's game with a 5-1 home record, while the Ospreys are 1-7 on the road. FGCU is in the midst of an eight-day stretch that features four A-Sun contests to start the New Year. Freshman BERNARD THOMPSON poured in a team season-high 22 points to lead FGCU past Kennesaw State, 62-55, just three nights ago in Georgia.

ALL-TIME SERIES
Saturday night will mark the 12th meeting between the two teams - FGCU's most against any opponent. The Eagles own a 6-5 edge in the all-time series, while UNF has taken five of the eight meetings as members of the A-Sun. FGCU won the first six games in the series, while the Ospreys have won the last five meetings by a combined 28 points. Nine of the 11 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less, while two have gone to overtime.

FROM DOWNTOWN
FGCU leads the A-Sun at a 40 percent clip from three-point range for the season, a mark that ranks 18th in the nation. The Eagles have made at least eight threes in seven of the last eight games and are fourth in the A-Sun at a 7.2 per game clip. Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL leads the conference individually, shooting 52 percent (33-64) from beyond the arc, while junior SHERWOOD BROWN (.410), freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN (.419) and freshman BERNARD THOMPSON (.471) are shooting 40 percent or higher with 15+ makes. Defensively, FGCU is limiting opponents to 33 percent from long range.

SCOUTING NORTH FLORIDA
A year removed from an appearance in the A-Sun Championship game, North Florida is an 8-8 overall and 2-1 in the conference. The Ospreys have won three of their last four, while their 1-7 record on the road has come against a daunting schedule. UNF has traveled to No. 19 Alabama, No. 7 Florida, No. 3 Ohio State, Kansas State, Auburn and Virginia Tech. Saturday will be the Ospreys' first A-Sun road game. The UNF lineup features balanced scoring, as four players are averaging at least 9.6 points, while the Ospreys are 5-0 when holding opponents to 60 points or less. Junior Parker Smith leads the team in scoring (11.4) off the bench, while classmates Andy Diaz (9.9) and Jerron Granberry (9.7) are right behind him. Smith and Granberry account for 69 of the team's 88 three-pointers while both are shooting above 40 percent from beyond the arc. Sophomore Travis Wallace has reached double figures eight times off the pine and was named the A-Sun Newcomer of the Week on Dec. 27.

LAST GAME: Thompson Leads FGCU to First Road Win at Kennesaw
KENNESAW, Ga. - Behind a season-high 22 points, including 18 in the second half, from freshman BERNARD THOMPSON in his home state of Georgia, the FGCU men’s basketball team picked up its first road win of the season with a 62-55 Atlantic Sun victory at Kennesaw State on Wednesday night at the KSU Convocation Center. • With FGCU holding a 54-51 lead and the ball with 1:09 left, Kennesaw State opted to foul, putting Thompson at the free throw line where the Eagles had hit 7-of-16 up to that point. Thompson calmly sank both and then extended his steal streak to 12 games on the next defensive possession to give the ball back to the Eagles. • Thompson was promptly fouled after making the steal, sinking both free throws again to push the FGCU lead to 58-51 with 56 seconds remaining. The Owls were able to draw within five on a couple occasions down the stretch, but sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL knocked down four straight free throws to seal the Green and Blue’s first-ever win at Kennesaw State. • Thompson knocked down 5-of-6 from long range and made four clutch free throws down the stretch en route to his 22 points, which are the most scored by an FGCU player this season.

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.

BALANCED ATTACK
A season-best five players reached double figures in FGCU's two wins over Toledo and Maine, while FGCU is 3-2 when four or more players reach double figures in the same game. A total of eight players have reached the double-digit plateau this season, while freshman BERNARD THOMPSON (12.5), junior SHERWOOD BROWN (11.8) and sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL (10.9) all rank in the top 25 in the A-Sun in scoring. Out of the eight different players who have scored double figures, five have led the team in scoring at least once, including three off the bench.

HEATING UP
Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL has found his stroke that helped him finish fifth in the nation among all freshmen in 2010-11 with 78 three-pointers. Varidel ranks second in the nation and tops in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.516). He is also third in the A-Sun in threes per game (2.4). The Versoix, Switzerland native has made three or more treys in a game seven times this season. He has also reached double-digits six times, including a team-best two 20-point outings.

WE'LL PICK YOU UP
Through 14 games, FGCU averages 27.2 points per game off the bench, a figure that results in a +7.6 margin per game. The bench has supplied a double figure scorer in 11 games, including the team's leading scorer on eight occasions, while supplying 25+ points nine times as a unit. At SMU, sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL poured in 20 points on 6-of-7 from three-point land and turned in another 20-point game against Maine to account for the top two bench efforts.. Looking further, the bench is shooting 47 percent (130-275) from the field and 46 percent (58-125) from three.

INSTANT IMPACT
FGCU's freshmen class has wasted little time making an impact, accounting for 48 percent of the scoring, 35 percent of the rebounds and 66 percent of the assists. Led by combo guard BERNARD THOMPSON'S 12.5 points per game, freshmen account for three the Green and Blue's top five scorers. Point guard BRETT COMER leads the A-Sun with 5.4 assists per game, a mark that ranks fourth among freshmen nationally and 40th overall. Comer is tied for fourth on the team in scoring (7.9) with classmate Dante Holmes. Thompson's 12.5 points are tops among all freshmen and have come on a team-high 11 double figure outings. FILIP CVJETICANIN has reached double figures twice and is shooting 42 percent from three, good for seventh in the A-Sun. At least one of the four freshmen has scored in double figures in 12 of 14 games.

WEEKLY AWARDS
Freshman BERNARD THOMPSON earned a pair of weekly awards earlier in the week. He was named the College Sports Madness A-Sun Player of the Week, while the league office named him the Newcomer of the Week on Tuesday. The award came after Thompson had 15 points and nine rebounds against Maine and followed with 13 points at Mercer.

HELPING HAND
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 leads the A-Sun and is fourth among all freshmen nationally in assists per game (5.4). He has reached double figures in five games, resulting in 7.9 points per game. Comer has led the team in assists in all but one game and has passed out seven or more helpers five times.

FIELER-ING IT
Sophomore CHASE FIELER has reached double-digits six times this season compared to five through all of last year, and is averaging 6.6 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds. Against Maine, Fieler hauled down a career-high 11 rebounds to go with 11 points and a career-best five assists for his first double-double. Fieler leads the team in both rebounds and blocks (1.3), figures that rank 15th and seventh in the A-Sun, respectively. The Parkersburg, W. Va. product also leads the team with 25 offensive rebounds.

STICKY FINGERS
Aside from being the league's top scoring freshman (12.5), BERNARD THOMPSON has used is long 6-foot-3 frame to his benefit on the defensive end. Thompson has a steal in 12 straight games, ranking second in the A-Sun at 1.9 thefts per game. During the current 12-game streak, Thompson has 10 multi-steal performances. Thompson is on pace for 58 steals, a mark that would finish top five in single-season history.

FRESH START
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 4.1 rebounds per game. The Fort Myers product produced his first career double-double against Toledo, going for career-bests of 11 points and 14 rebounds over 36 minutes. Murray is shooting 58 percent (37-64) from the floor over 21 minutes per game. Murray has nearly hit the totals he put up through two full seasons in just 14 games this year.

HEARTBREAK HOTEL
Seven of FGCU's eight losses on the season have been by 10 points or less , including six by six points or less. The Eagles' seven road opponents so far this season currently all have a winning record and a combined mark of 64-31. A trio of one-point defeats in the Fort Worth/Dallas area against TCU (73-72) and SMU (65-64), and at Nebraska (51-50) headlines the heartbreaking losses.

MUSICAL CHAIRS
First-year head coach ANDY ENFIELD has used seven different lineups through 14 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 each of the last six games (3-3). 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 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 six times in 10 contests, including three straight games played, leading the team in scoring (11.8) and ranking second in rebounding (5.0) - figures that rank ninth and 18th 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.

SPARK PLUGS
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 11.7 points per game average off the pine is 4.0 points better than his average in the starting five. Varidel poured in 20 points at SMU and against Maine, 17 at Loyola Maryland and 16 against Toledo to lead the team in scoring all four times off the bench.

SECOND HALF SURGE
Highlighted by freshman Bernard Thompson's 18 points at Kennesaw State and three second half performances of 15 points by three different players, FGCU has turned in some great stretches over the final 20 minutes. At Miami, FGCU tied a program D-1 record for second half points given up by limiting the Hurricanes to 18 points on 4-of-24 from the field. At Nebraska, the Eagles limited the Huskers to just 25 second half points. SHERWOOD BROWN (at Miami), BRETT COMER (Ave Maria) and Thompson (at Loyola) have all scored 15 points in one second half. Thompson is averaging 7.5 of his team-best 12.5 points in the final frame.