GAME PREVIEW: FGCU Begins Weekend Road Trip at Jacksonville
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Sherwood Brown is one of two players to rank in the top 10 in the A-Sun in scoring and rebounding. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Sherwood Brown is one of two players to rank in the top 10 in the A-Sun in scoring and rebounding. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Florida Gulf Coast (12-11, 7-5 A-Sun)
Jacksonville (4-19, 2-10 A-Sun)
2/4/2012 | Veterans Memorial Arena | Attendance: 1168
Florida Gulf Coast372865
Stats at a GlanceFGCUJU
FG Percentage.457 (21-46) .306 (15-49)
3P FG Percentage.417 (5-12) .294 (5-17)
FT Percentage.750 (18-24) .714 (20-28)
Offensive Rebounds414
Defensive Rebounds2425
Total Rebounds2839
Bench Points2314
Statistical LeadersFGCUJU
PointsTHOMPSON - 19
ReboundsBROWN - 7
AssistsCOMER - 3
StealsCOMER - 4
BlocksMURRAY - 3

FGCU (11-11, 6-5 A-SUN) at Jacksonville (4-18, 2-9 A-SUN)
DATE: Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012
CITY: Jacksonville, Fla.
SITE: Veterans Memorial Arena (5,181)
TIP-OFF: 3:15 p.m. ET
TALENT: Tom James (P-B-P)
LAST 10 GAMES: 6-4
SERIES: Jacksonville leads, 7-2
LAST MEETING: @FGCU 77, Jacksonville 66 - Jan. 9, 2012

Currently in a tie for fourth place in the Atlantic Sun standings, FGCU will look to build off a six-win month of January when it opens the final month of the regular season at Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles are 3-2 on the road in A-Sun play this season and can set a program single-season record for conference road victories with a win against the Dolphins. A win would also set a program record for Division I victories and tie the most A-Sun wins in a season. FGCU is 7-0 when five players reach double figures in the same game this season, a feat they accomplished against JU on Jan. 9.

The reigning A-Sun Player of the Week, junior SHERWOOD BROWN is coming off a three-game week in which he averaged 16.3 points and 9.7 rebounds. Brown's big week was highlighted by a pair of double-doubles that helped the Orlando product become just one of two Atlantic Sun players currently in the top 10 in scoring (12.4/10th) and rebounding (5.9/10th), joining USC Upstate's Torrey Craig. In FGCU's 77-66 home win over JU in January, Brown went for 15 points and six rebounds in just 18 minutes off the bench for his third double figure outing against the Dolphins in four career contests.

After losing its first seven meetings against Jacksonville, FGCU has taken the last two with the most recent coming on Jan. 9, in Alico Arena by a 77-66 outcome. Both of the Green and Blue's wins in the series have come at home, while they are 0-4 at Veterans Memorial Arena. Jacksonville won the first seven meetings between the two clubs by an average of 14.5 points per game.

Returning home for the first time since mid-January, Jacksonville picked up a 77-74 overtime win against third place USC Upstate in its last game at Veterans Memorial Arena on Jan. 16. The Dolphins currently sit in ninth place in the A-Sun at 2-9 with both wins coming on their home floor where they will play five of their final seven conference contests. Jacksonville ranks seconds in the A-Sun with 14.3 offensive rebounds per game led by nine different players with 10+ offensive caroms. The Dolphins have been without leading scorer Keith McDougald over the last four games. McDougald scored 16 points in the January meeting between the two clubs and is 16th in the A-Sun at 11.6 per game. An active and athletic frontcourt highlights the JU lineup led by forwards Glenn Powell and Delwan Graham who combine for 21.0 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. The duo has 126 offensive rebounds between them, while a large part of Graham's 10.2 points and team-high 6.9 rebounds have come off the bench.

LAST GAME: Hall Sparks Mercer Past FGCU, 75-66
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A 12-0 Mercer run early in the second half and a 20-point night from sophomore point guard Langston Hall proved to be the difference, as a late FGCU run wasn’t enough as it fell to the Bears, 75-66, on Monday night at Alico Arena. • The loss snaps a three-game win streak for the Eagles, who are now 11-11 overall and 6-5 in the Atlantic Sun, good for a tie for fourth place. • Junior SHERWOOD BROWN turned in his third double-double of the season with team-highs of 15 points and 13 rebounds. Redshirt junior EDDIE MURRAY was the only other Eagle in double figures with 12, including 10 in the first half. • Brown hauled in seven offensive rebounds to highlight a season-best 18 offensive caroms by the Eagles, but it came on a night in which the Green and Blue shot under 40 percent for just the third time this year. FGCU shot a season-low 37 percent (22-59) from the field and 33 percent (8-24) from three, categories in which it leads the A-Sun. • Following a breakaway dunk by BERNARD THOMPSON that brought the Eagles within one, 43-42, Mercer went on a crucial 16-3 run that started with 12 consecutive points and saw the Bears score on eight straight possessions.

Freshman BERNARD THOMPSON is making a strong case for A-Sun Freshman of the Year, leading all conference rookies in rebounding (4.8) and steals (2.0), while ranking second in scoring (11.6) - figures that are all in the top 20 in the A-Sun. The Conyers, Ga. product has led FGCU in scoring seven times thanks to a team-best 16 double figure outings that has him 15th overall in the A-Sun in scoring.

Just three games removed from a program Division I record 64.7 percent shooting night (33-51) at Stetson, FGCU is third in the A-Sun in field goal percentage (.473) and second in three-point percentage (.388) - figures that rank 34th and 26th nationally in the latest rankings through Jan. 29. The Eagles have been held below 40 percent in a game just three times, while going 7-1 when breaking the 50-percent plateau. FGCU shot 50 percent or better in three straight games (@Stetson, Longwood, Kennesaw State), a program Division I record and just the fourth time in the 10 years of the program it has been accomplished. The Green and Blue's current 47.3 field goal percentage is on pace to break the single-season record.

Freshman BRETT COMER leads the A-Sun, is second among all freshmen and 26th nationally in assists per game (5.9). Highlighted by his most recent 12-assist night against Longwood, Comer is the first A-Sun player since 2007 to have three double figure assist games in the same season. Over his current seven-game run, he is averaging 7.0 assists, while guiding the Eagles to a 5-2 record. Comer has led the team in assists in all but one game and has passed out seven or more helpers nine times. His 130 assists on the season rank seventh in single-season history.

Named the A-Sun Player of the Week by College Sports Madness on Jan. 17, junior SHERWOOD BROWN leads the team in both scoring (12.4) and rebounding (5.9) - figures that both rank 11th and 10th in the A-Sun. With team-bests of two 20-point games and three double-doubles, Brown has reached double figures 12 times in 18 contests, and also ranks 12th in the A-Sun with a 51.9 FG percentage. Over the last three games, Brown is averaging 16.3 points and 9.7 rebounds in 25 minutes per contest. Below is a look at how Brown stacks up in the A-Sun.

FGCU produced its top three offensive games of the season during its three-game January win streak, highlighted by a 101-point night against Longwood. Over the three victories, the Eagles averaged 95 points on 61 percent (102-167) shooting from the field and five players averaging double figure points. FGCU broke a pair of D-1 records during the spurt, shooting 64.7 percent (33-51) at Stetson and defeating Longwood by 43 points (101-58). Balance was the theme over the three games, as seven different players have reached double figures.

Someone who is never at a loss for words, freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN has let his game do the talking over the last seven contests. Over that span, the 6-foot-9 sharpshooting Croatian has reached double figures four times, highlighted by his 17-point night against Kennesaw State on 5-of-6 from three-point land. Cvjeticanin's 16-of-32 clip from long range over the seven-game stretch has the freshman third in the A-Sun in three-point field goal percentage at 45.6 (36-79).

Through 22 games, FGCU averages 28.9 points per game off the bench. The bench has supplied a double figure scorer in 18 games, including the team's leading scorer on 11 occasions, while scoring 25+ points 16 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 47.6 percent from the field and 45.1 percent (96-213) from three. Against Longwood, the bench produced 49 points for their third 40+ point night of the season.

Second in the A-Sun at a 38.8 percent clip from three-point range as a team, four different Eagles rank in the top 11 individually. Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is second in the conference, shooting 46 percent, while freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN is third (.456), junior SHERWOOD BROWN (.388) is ninth and freshman BERNARD THOMPSON is 11th (.383).

A season-best six players reached double figures in FGCU's win over Longwood, while at least five players have done so in seven of FGCU's last 12 games (7-0), while the Eagles are 8-2 when four or more players reach double-digits in the same game. Freshman BRETT COMER'S 24 points at Stetson were the most by an Eagle this season as he became the fourth player to reach the 20 point plateau. A total of eight players have reached the double-digits this season, while six have led the team in scoring at least once.

FGCU's freshmen class has wasted little time making an impact, accounting for 49 percent of the scoring (36.0), 36 percent of the rebounds (12.6) and 67 percent of the assists (9.0). At least one of the four freshmen has scored in double figures in 19 of 22 games, while the Eagles are 7-0 when three members of the quartet accomplish the feat. Led by combo guard BERNARD THOMPSON'S 11.6 points per game, freshmen account for three the Green and Blue's top five scorers. Against Kennesaw State, four freshmen reached double figures - the most in a single game in program history.

Sophomore CHASE FIELER has reached double-digits nine times this season compared to five through all of last year, and is averaging 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. Against Maine, Fieler hauled down a career-high 11 rebounds to go with 11 points for his first double-double, and is coming off a career-high 15 points against Kennesaw State. Fieler leads the team in both offensive rebounds (36) and blocks (22).

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 is second in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.462) and is 11th in the A-Sun in threes per game (1.9). The Versoix, Switzerland native has made three or more treys in a game eight times this season. He has also reached double-digits eight times, including a team-best two 20-point outings.

Aside from being the league's second-leading freshmen scorer (11.6), BERNARD THOMPSON has used is long 6-foot-3 frame to his benefit on the defensive end. Up until playing Jacksonville, Thompson had a streak of 13 games with steal and ranks second in the A-Sun at 2.0 thefts per game. Thompson has 17 multi-steal performances, highlighted by four against UNF. Thompson is on pace for 60 steals, a mark that would finish top five in single-season history. As a team, FGCU ranks third in the A-Sun and 38th in the country (8.2).

First-year head coach ANDY ENFIELD has used seven different lineups through 22 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 at least four underclassmen have started together in 11 games. FGCU rolled out the same starting five of Comer, Thompson, Holmes, Fieler and Murray for 10 consecutive games (5-5) before Stetson.

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 7.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. The Fort Myers product produced his first career double-double against Toledo, going for 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds over 36 minutes. Murray is shooting 62.4 percent (58-93) from the floor over 22.3 minutes per game. Murray has surpassed all the totals he put up through two full seasons in just 22 games this year.