Balanced Attack, Bench Lead FGCU Past Southeastern, 86-60
|Florida Gulf Coast||43||43||86|
|Stats at a Glance||SOUTH||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.350 (21-60)||.508 (33-65)|
|3P FG Percentage||.192 (5-26)||.389 (7-18)|
|FT Percentage||.542 (13-24)||.867 (13-15)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Sparked by four players in double figures for the third straight game and a season-high 40 points from its bench, the FGCU men’s basketball team picked up its Division I program record eighth non-conference win with a 86-60 win over NAIA foe Southeastern on Tuesday night at Alico Arena.
FGCU never trailed for the fourth time in its last five games, as it improved to 8-4 on the season, including an impressive 7-0 at home. The Eagles’ current seven-game home win streak is the second-longest in the program’s six-year Division I history, while the Green and Blue have now won 12 straight non-conference home contests.
“We had 21 assists tonight and you always have to be happy when your players share the ball because that makes the game more enjoyable for each other,” said head coach Andy Enfield, who has FGCU just outside the top 25 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll.
As it has done all year, FGCU attacked the rim en route to 46 points in the paint, following up the season-best 51 points it had last Thursday in the win over FIU. FGCU’s 51 percent night from the field – team is 5-0 when shooting 50 percent or better – was bolstered by nine dunks, including five from junior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS), whose 51 made field goals on the year feature 28 throw downs.
Fieler led the Green and Blue in scoring for the third consecutive game with 14 points on 6-of-9 from the field for his sixth double figure performance in his last seven outings. Junior Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) and junior Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) added 11 points each, while junior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) had 10 off the bench.
FGCU’s 46-26 edge in points in the paint, and 32-8 advantage in points off turnovers, led to the 26-point win. The Eagles forced Southeastern into 18 turnovers en route to 14 steals. Thompson added to his nation’s best steals total with four thefts, giving him 39 on the year and five straight games with at least three steals.
The Eagles jumped out to a 43-25 lead at the half, equaling their season-best first half point total for the second straight game. The 18-point first half lead was ignited by 24 points off turnovers.
Sophomore point guard Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) was the catalyst of FGCU’s strong start to the second half that saw the Eagles push their 18-point halftime lead to 32 points, 65-33, with 9:51 left in the game. Comer assisted on seven of FGCU’s first nine field goals in the final 20 minutes and had a layup in that span to help the Green and Blue open on a 22-8 run.
Comer’s seven assists in the second half helped him finish with 10 helpers, putting him in the A-Sun lead in assists per game with 5.9. Last year’s league assist champion, Comer’s double-digit assist outing is his second of the season and sixth of his career, as the Eagles passed out a season-high 21 assists and committed a season-low 12 turnovers.
Besides Brown’s 10 points, the FGCU bench saw sophomore Filip Cvjeticanin (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) add nine points and a team-high eight rebounds, while redshirt sophomore Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy/Iowa State) also had nine points.
For the game, Southeastern shot 35 percent (21-60) from the field and was 5-of-26 from long range. Jordan Talley led the Fire with 20 points, while Brandon Moore finished with a double-double of 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
FGCU will wrap up non-conference play on Saturday when it travels way up north to America East foe Maine. Gametime on Saturday is slated for 2 p.m.
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