GAME PREVIEW: FGCU Takes On Stetson in A-Sun/CSS Friday Night Game of the Week
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Junior Sherwood Brown has reached double figures in eight straight games. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Junior Sherwood Brown has reached double figures in eight straight games. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Stetson (9-18, 6-10 A-Sun)
Florida Gulf Coast (13-14, 8-8 A-Sun)
2/17/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. (Alico Arena) | Attendance: 2352
Florida Gulf Coast344680
Stats at a GlanceSTETFGCU
FG Percentage.563 (27-48) .380 (30-79)
3P FG Percentage.444 (8-18) .350 (14-40)
FT Percentage.774 (24-31) .667 (6-9)
Offensive Rebounds723
Defensive Rebounds2520
Total Rebounds3243
Bench Points1247
Statistical LeadersSTETFGCU
PointsPEGG - 23
ReboundsGREEN - 5
PEGG - 5
TEAM - 5
AssistsGRAHAM - 6
COMER - 10
StealsNABURGS - 3
BlocksPEREZ - 1

FGCU (13-13, 8-7 A-SUN) vs. Stetson (8-18, 5-10 A-SUN)
DATE: Friday, Feb. 17, 2012
CITY: Fort Myers, Fla.
SITE: Alico Arena (4,500)
TIP-OFF: 7:05 p.m. ET
TV: Comcast Sports South/ESPN3.com
TALENT: Matt Stewart (P-B-P) & Sonny Smith
CHANNEL: Ch. 70 (Comcast)
TALENT: Tom James (P-B-P) & J. Webb Horton
AT HOME: 9-4
SERIES: FGCU leads, 5-4
LAST MEETING: FGCU 92, @Stetson 85 – Feb. 11, 2012

With its first conference postseason berth in hand, FGCU will closeout its 2011-12 home slate against in-state rival Stetson in the Atlantic Sun/CSS Friday Night Game of the Week at Alico Arena. The game will be televised live on Comcast Sports South - channel 70 in southwest Florida - and on ESPN3.com outside the CSS footprint with Matt Stewart and Sonny Smith on the call. The Eagles own a 9-4 record at home this season and are coming off a 89-68 victory against Lipscomb that moved them into sole possession of fourth place in the tight A-Sun standings at 8-7. FGCU will also be in search of its fourth season sweep of an A-Sun opponent this year, as Stetson enters a game ahead of Jacksonville for the eighth and final A-Sun Tournament spot.

Behind 24 points and seven assists from freshman point guard BRETT COMER, FGCU defeated Stetson for the fourth straight time earlier in the season in DeLand, Fla. The Green and Blue's second road win at the Edmunds Center gave the Eagles a 5-4 lead in the all-time series heading back to Alico Arena where they are 3-1 against the Hatters. FGCU scored 92 points in the January win which jump-started a three-game win streak in which it broke 90 points and shot 50 percent in all three games.

One of four teams to clinch an A-Sun Tournament berth already, FGCU will head to Macon, Ga. in late February in its first year of eligibility after going through the four-year Division I transition period. The Eagles could still be a 3-8 seed, but can stay out of the No. 8 spot with a win over Stetson.

The only team with three players in the top 10 in scoring in the A-Sun, Stetson is 8-18 under first-year head coach Casey Alexander, who was a longtime assistant at Belmont. The Hatters enter Friday night having lost four straight and nine of their last 10 despite scoring 85 points or more four times over that span. The Hatters are led by the A-Sun's top scoring trio in Adam Pegg, Chris Perez and Aaron Graham, who combine for 41.1 points per game. Pegg ranks fourth in the A-Sun in scoring at 14.7 per contest and is coming off a 31-point outing against Belmont - the A-Sun's first 30-point outing this year. A transfer from Delaware, Pegg has scored 20+ points in five A-Sun games. Stetson has also received an immediate impact from Liberty transfer Chris Perez, who supplies 13.4 points - tied for seventh in the A-Sun. Aaron Graham is turning a strong freshman season into a breakout sophomore campaign in which he is averaging 13.0 points.

LAST GAME: FGCU Clinches First-Ever A-Sun Tournament Berth
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Behind six players in double figures, FGCU led for all but 15 seconds in a convincing 89-68 Atlantic Sun win over Lipscomb Monday night at Alico Arena. Eligible for postseason play for the first time in school history, the Eagles clinched a berth in the A-Sun Tournament with the victory. • Balance has been the theme all season for the Green and Blue, as it marked the second time that six players have reached double figures in the same game, while the Eagles improved to 8-0 when at least five players accomplish the feat. FGCU was clicking on all cylinders on the offensive end, shooting 54 percent (34-63) for the game, while dishing out a season-high 24 assists to just 12 turnovers. Seven different players knocked down a three-pointer led by sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL’S 4-of-8 night, as the Eagles finished 11-of-23 as a team. • Junior SHERWOOD BROWN led FGCU with his eighth straight double-digit outing that featured 13 points and six rebounds. Varidel scored all 12 of his points via the three-point shot, while redshirt junior EDDIE MURRAY and freshman BERNARD THOMPSON made it four starters in double-digits with 10 points and six rebounds each.

Junior SHERWOOD BROWN, the A-Sun Player of the Week on Jan. 31, has reached double figures in eight straight games, a span that started at Stetson in which he is averaging team-bests of 14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds. The Orlando product is just one of two A-Sun players currently in the top 10 in scoring (12.7/10th) and rebounding (6.0/8th), joining USC Upstate's Torrey Craig.

Freshmen BERNARD THOMPSON and Brett Comer are both making strong cases for A-Sun Freshman of the Year. Thompson leads all conference rookies in rebounding (4.8) and steals (1.9), while ranking second in scoring (11.3) - figures that are all in the top 20 in the A-Sun. Comer leads the entire league in assists (5.5) and is fifth among A-Sun freshman in scoring (9.1). A product of Conyers, Ga., Thompson has led FGCU in scoring eight times thanks to a team-best 18 double figure outings, while Comer has been the team leader in assists in all but two contests. Both have been named A-Sun Newcomer of the Week on one occasion.

Highlighted by 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 (.470) and first in three-point percentage (.384) - figures that rank 46th and 28th nationally in the latest rankings. The Eagles have been held below 40 percent in a game just four times (0-4), while going 8-1 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 47.0 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 31st nationally in assists per game (5.5). Highlighted by his 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. Comer has led the team in assists in all but two games and has passed out seven or more helpers nine times. His 144 assists on the season rank seventh in single-season history, while he is trying to become the first freshman to lead the league in assists since Mercer's James Florence did so in 2006-07.

Named the A-Sun Player of the Week on Jan. 31, junior SHERWOOD BROWN leads the team in both scoring (12.7) and rebounding (6.0) - figures that rank 10th and eighth in the A-Sun. With team-bests of three 20-point games and three double-doubles, Brown has reached double figures 16 times in 22 contests and also ranks 12th in the A-Sun with a 51.2 FG percentage. Brown is vying to become the third player in FGCU history to lead the team in scoring and rebounding in the same season.

A season-best six players reached double figures for the second time this year in FGCU's win over Lipscomb, while at least five players have done so in eight times (8-0), and the Eagles are 9-2 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.

Through 26 games, FGCU averages 28.4 points per game off the bench. The bench has supplied a double figure scorer in 22 games, including the team's leading scorer on 11 occasions, while scoring 25+ points 18 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. Against Longwood, the bench produced 49 points for their third 40+ point night of the season. FGCU has won the battle of the benches in 21 of 26 games.

Sophomore CHASE FIELER has reached double-digits 10 times this season compared to five through all of last year, and is averaging 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds. Against Maine, Fieler hauled down a career-high 11 rebounds to go with 11 points for his first double-double, and had a career-high 15 points against Kennesaw State. Fieler leads the team with 29 blocks and is second on the squad with 39 offensive boards.

FGCU's freshmen class has wasted little time making an impact, accounting for 48 percent of the scoring (34.4), 36 percent of the rebounds (12.3) and 65 percent of the assists (8.8). At least one of the four freshmen has scored in double figures in 23 of 26 games, while the Eagles are 8-0 when three members of the quartet accomplish the feat. Led by combo guard BERNARD THOMPSON'S 11.3 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.

Tops in the A-Sun at a 38.4 percent clip from three-point range as a team, three different Eagles rank in the top 10 individually. Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is second in the conference, shooting 47 percent (52-111), while freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN is third (.433) and junior SHERWOOD BROWN (.378) is ninth.

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 (.468) and is 10th in the A-Sun in threes per game (2.0). The Versoix, Switzerland native has made three or more treys in a game 10 times this season. He has also reached double-digits 11 times, including two 20-point outings.

Aside from being the league's second-leading freshmen scorer (11.3), BERNARD THOMPSON has used is long 6-foot-3 frame to his benefit on the defensive end. Behind 19 multi-steal performances, Thompson ranks third in the A-Sun at 1.9 thefts per game. 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 34th in the country in steals (8.3). The Eagles have scored 20+ points off opponent turnovers six times this season.

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 6.9 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 61 percent (68-111) from the floor over 22.7 minutes per game. Murray has surpassed all the totals he put up through two full seasons in 26 games this year.

FGCU produced its top three offensive games of the season during its three-game January win streak (@Stetson, Longwood, Kennesaw St.), 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 reached double figures.

First-year head coach ANDY ENFIELD has used eight different lineups through 26 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) - the longest streak of the season. FGCU has used a different lineup in the last three games leading into Stetson.