No. 6 FGCU To Get First Taste Of March Madness vs. No. 3 USC Upstate
Thursday, March 01, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson (@pierson_sid)
Florida Gulf Coast (14-16 (8-10ASun))
USC Upstate (20-12 (13-5ASun))
3/1/2012 | Macon, Ga. - University Center | Attendance: 952
Florida Gulf Coast215071
USC Upstate273461
Stats at a GlanceFGCUUPSTM
FG Percentage.387 (24-62) .319 (22-69)
3P FG Percentage.474 (9-19) .238 (5-21)
FT Percentage.667 (14-21) .571 (12-21)
Offensive Rebounds1422
Defensive Rebounds3227
Total Rebounds4649
Bench Points2520
Statistical LeadersFGCUUPSTM
PointsVARIDEL - 14
ReboundsTHOMPSON - 7
TEAM - 7
AssistsCOMER - 4
StealsTHOMPSON - 3
BlocksFIELER - 4

No. 6 FGCU (13-16, 8-10 A-SUN) vs. No. 3 USC Upstate (20-11, 13-5 A-SUN)
ROUND: Quarterfinals
DATE: Thursday, March 1, 2012
CITY: Macon, Ga.
SITE: University Center (3,200)
TIP-OFF: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: www.ESPN3.com
TALENT: Matt Stewart (P-B-P)
Sonny Smith (Analyst)
RADIO: ESPN 770AM - Fort Myers
www.770ESPN.com & www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
TALENT: David Moulton (P-B-P)
Mark Miller (Analyst)
TWITTER: @fgcueagles/#FGCU/@atlanticsun
LAST 10 GAMES: 3-7
POSTSEASON: First Appearance
SERIES: FGCU leads USC Upstate, 5-4
LAST MEETING: Feb. 23, 2012 - @USC Upstate 87, FGCU 74
UP NEXT WITH A WIN: Friday, March 2 - 8:30 p.m. vs. No. 2 Mercer or No. 7 Lipscomb

FGCU will make its first-ever appearance at the Atlantic Sun Tournament when it takes on fellow first-timer and No. 3 USC Upstate in the quarterfinal round at the University Center on the campus of Mercer University. The Eagles and Spartans will both be making their first Division I postseason appearance after sitting out the last four years due the NCAA Division I transition period. FGCU earned the No. 6 seed after setting program Division I records for overall wins (13) and A-Sun victories (8) under first-year head coach ANDY ENFIELD. The No. 6 seed has won a game in five of the last six A-Sun Tournaments and advanced to the championship game the last two years. The Eagles were the fourth team to clinch a berth in the A-Sun Tournament berth when they defeated Lipscomb, 89-68, on Feb. 13 at Alico Arena.

A trio of Eagles earned postseason honors from the Atlantic Sun when awards were dished out on Monday evening. Junior SHERWOOD BROWN - one of two players in the A-Sun in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding - earned a spot on the All-Conference second team, while rookies BRETT COMER and BERNARD THOMPSON occupied two of the five spots on the A-Sun All-Freshmen team. Brown is the team leader in both scoring (12.9) and rebounding (6.0), figures that are ninth in the A-Sun. A unanimous All-Freshmen choice, Thompson averages 11.9 points, while leading all conference rookies in rebounding (5.2) and steals (1.9). Comer leads the A-Sun in assists (5.6) and is second among freshman nationally, while producing 8.4 points per contest. FGCU has placed a player on the All-Conference second team two years in a row and at least one rookie on the All-Freshmen team three consecutive years.

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.

• First A-Sun Tournament Berth in First Year of Eligibility
• Division I Record For Wins (13)
• Most A-Sun Wins (8)
• Single-Season Record For A-Sun Road Wins (4)
• Program's First Road Wins at Lipscomb, Kennesaw State and Jacksonville
• First Time in D-1 Era With a .500 Record in February (13-13 - Feb. 13)

Predicted to finish ninth in the A-Sun in both the media and coaches’ preseason poll, USC Upstate (20-11, 13-5) ended the season on a two-game win streak to finish in third place under Coach of the Year Eddie Payne. The Spartans' quick rise up the A-Sun standings can be attributed to a deep and youthful roster that is led by Conference Player of the Year Torrey Craig. The 2011 A-Sun Freshman of the Year and currently a finalist for the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year award, Craig leads the league in scoring (17.1) while ranking second in rebounding (7.9). After going 8-for-43 from the field in his first three games against FGCU, Craig scored a career-high 30 points on 8-of-14 from long range and finished the regular season with 12 20-point games. Rookie guard Ty Greene brought the A-Sun Freshman of the Year award back to Spartanburg for the second straight year, posting 11.2 points per game while starting all 31 contests.

FGCU's freshmen class has made a huge impact in their first season, accounting for 48 percent of the scoring (35.1), 36 percent of the rebounds (12.8) and 65 percent of the assists (8.8). At least one of the four freshmen has scored in double figures in 26 of 29 games, while the Eagles are 8-2 when three members of the quartet accomplish the feat. Led by combo guard BERNARD THOMPSON'S 11.9 points per game, freshmen account for three the Green and Blue's top five scorers. Against Kennesaw State and Stetson, four freshmen reached double figures - the most in a single game in program history and the only two times this season in the nation.

Freshmen BERNARD THOMPSON and BRETT COMER made strong cases for A-Sun Freshman of the Year and found their way onto the All-Freshmen team. Thompson leads all A-Sun rookies in rebounding (5.2) and steals (1.9), while ranking second in scoring (11.9) - figures that are all in the top 20 in the A-Sun. Comer leads the league in assists (5.6) and is fifth among freshman in scoring (8.7). Thompson has led FGCU in scoring 10 times thanks to a team-best 21 double figure outings, while Comer has been the team leader in assists 26 times. Freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN ranks second in the A-Sun and first among freshman in three-point percentage (.441). Thompson won the A-Sun Newcomer of the Week award two times, including the final one of the season, while Comer earned the accolade once.

Freshmen BRETT COMER and BERNARD THOMPSON each recorded a double-double against Stetson on Feb. 17, becoming the first pair of FGCU players to finish with a double-double in the same game since Nov. 27, 2007 - a streak of 141 games. Comer and Thompson combined for 28 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists, as Comer's double-double featured points/assists (11/10), while Thompson's was of the points/rebounds (17/12) variety. Both Comer and Thompson have two double-doubles on the season, while the only other A-Sun freshman with one is Lipscomb's Malcolm Smith.

One of just two players in the Atlantic Sun that ranks in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding, junior SHERWOOD BROWN has upped his game since being inserted back into the starting lineup 11 games ago. Over the last 11 games, Brown has reached double figures 10 times with a trio of 20-point efforts and a pair of double-doubles. The Orlando product's 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds over the 11 games have put him into ninth in the A-Sun in both scoring (12.9) and rebounding (6.0).

Named the A-Sun Player of the Week on Jan. 31, junior SHERWOOD BROWN leads the team in both scoring (12.9) and rebounding (6.0) - figures that rank 10th in the A-Sun. With team-bests of four 20-point games and three double-doubles, Brown has reached double figures 18 times in 25 contests and ranks among the A-Sun leaders in nine different categories. Brown is vying to become the third player in FGCU history to lead the team in scoring and rebounding in the same season.

Second in the A-Sun at a 37.6 percent clip from three-point range and third with 7.8 treys per game, FGCU boasts four players in the top 12 individually by percentage. Freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN in second (.441) in the A-Sun, sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is third (.434). freshman BERNARD THOMPSON is ninth (.388) and junior SHERWOOD BROWN (.370) is 12th.

Highlighted by a program Division I record 64.7 percent shooting night (33-51) at Stetson on Jan. 20, FGCU is third in the A-Sun in field goal percentage (.461) and second in three-point percentage (.376). The Eagles have been held below 40 percent in a game just six times (0-6), 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 46.1 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 36th nationally in assists per game (5.6). Highlighted by his 12-assist night against Longwood, Comer is the first A-Sun player since 2007 to have four double figure assist games in the same season. He has led the team in assists in all but three games and has passed out seven or more helpers 10 times. His 162 assists on the season rank sixth 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.

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 9-4 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 double-digits this season, while seven have done so at least 10 times. Six different players have led the team in scoring at least once.

Over its last six games, FGCU has been dominant on the offensive glass, averaging 16.2 offensive caroms. The Eagles turned 59 offensive rebounds in the last three games into 71 second chance points.

FGCU averages 28.6 points per game off the bench. The bench has supplied a double figure scorer in 24 games, including the team's leading scorer on 11 occasions, while scoring 25+ points 20 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 24 of 29 games.

Sophomore CHASE FIELER has reached double-digits 10 times this season compared to five through all of last year, and is averaging 6.8 points and 4.6 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 32 blocks and is third on the squad with 41 offensive boards.

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 third in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.434) and is 10th in the A-Sun in threes per game (1.9). The Versoix, Switzerland native has made three or more treys in a game a team-high 11 times this season.

Aside from being the league's second-leading freshmen scorer (11.9), BERNARD THOMPSON has used is long 6-foot-3 frame to his benefit on the defensive end. Behind 20 multi-steal performances, Thompson ranks third in the A-Sun at 1.9 thefts per game. Thompson's 53 steals rank seventh in single-season history. As a team, FGCU ranks third in the A-Sun and 39th in the country in steals (8.2). The Eagles have scored 20+ points off opponent turnovers seven 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 6.8 points and 3.9 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 percent (74-120) from the floor over 22.3 minutes per game. Murray has surpassed all the totals he put up through two full seasons in 29 games this year.