Men's Basketball Falls at Maine, 84-78, in Final Non-Conference Tilt
Saturday, December 22, 2012 | by Patrick Pierson (@Pierson_SID)
McKnight had 12 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
McKnight had 12 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
Florida Gulf Coast (8-5)
Maine (4-8)
12/22/2012 | Orono, Maine (Alfond Arena) | Attendance: 980
Florida Gulf Coast275178
Stats at a GlanceFGCUMAINE
FG Percentage.405 (30-74) .509 (28-55)
3P FG Percentage.207 (6-29) .429 (6-14)
FT Percentage.571 (12-21) .815 (22-27)
Offensive Rebounds189
Defensive Rebounds2133
Total Rebounds3942
Bench Points1712
Statistical LeadersFGCUMAINE
PointsBROWN - 17
Edwards - 27
ReboundsTEAM - 8
Edwards - 11
AssistsCOMER - 8
Lawton - 5
Edwards - 5
StealsCOMER - 3
Mesghna - 3
Edwards - 3
BlocksCOMER - 1
Fraser - 2
Allison - 2

ORONO, Maine – Behind a combined 48 points from Justin Edwards and Alasdair Fraser, Maine denied the FGCU men’s basketball team of its ninth win of the season on Saturday afternoon with an 84-78 defeat of the Eagles at Alfond Arena.

The Eagles erased a 10-point halftime deficit with an 11-0 run to open the second half, but couldn’t stop the Black Bears on the offensive end, as the home team shot 51 percent (28-55) from the floor and 22-of-27 at the free throw line.

FGCU finishes the non-conference portion of its schedule with an 8-5 record, good for the most non-conference wins in the program’s six-year Division I history. Maine is now 4-8.

“Give Maine credit, they played hard, they played well,” said head coach Andy Enfield. “We are a very good shooting team and tonight, although we didn’t shoot well, we scored enough points to win, but we didn’t get loose balls and play good enough defense.”

FGCU took 19 more shots than Maine thanks to 18 offensive rebounds and seven less turnovers, but couldn’t get into a rhythm. The Eagles shot 41 percent (30-74) from the field, 21 percent (6-29) from three and 12-of-21 from the free throw line. All those percentages were boosted by a 51-point second half by the Green and Blue.

Senior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) finished with a team-high 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting to lead four players in double figures. Sophomore point guard Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) reached double-digits for the fourth time in the last five games with 14 points and added eight assists that included the 250th of his career.

Edwards led all scorers with 27 points and had a game-high 11 rebounds, scoring double figures in each half. Alasdair also reached the 20-point plateau with 21 points and seven rebounds.

Maine built a 37-27 lead at the break thanks to FGCU hitting just 11-of-40 from the field and 1-of-15 from beyond the arc over the opening 20 minutes.

FGCU climbed back into the game and eventually took the lead thanks to some full court pressure that broke out into transition and jumpstarted the Eagles on the offensive end. All three steals during the 11-0 run led to points, as Brown’s three-pointer from the left wing 3:50 into the period gave the Eagles a 38-37 edge – their first lead since the opening two minutes of the game.

The Eagles’ lead lasted only 17 seconds, as a bucket by Edwards initiated a 7-0 run by Maine that pushed its lead to 44-38. The Black Bears’ lead reached as high as eight on a trio of occasions, but FGCU cut it to a two-point game a pair of times with the final coming with 2:58 to play with the score 71-69.

Again, Maine responded, this time, scoring five quick points that helped it hold onto a two-possession lead the rest of the way.

Redshirt sophomore Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy/Iowa State) had 12 points and tied junior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) for the team lead with seven rebounds. Sophomore Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) was plagued by foul trouble all game, but managed 11 points in 21 minutes.

With non-conference play now in the books, FGCU will turn its attention to Atlantic Sun action where it will open the league slate with two games in Georgia. The Eagles will take on Kennesaw State on New Year’s Eve followed by a trip to Mercer on Jan. 2.