ETSU Storms Back to Defeat FGCU, 85-75
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.441 (26-59)||.519 (27-52)|
|3P FG Percentage||.424 (14-33)||.500 (9-18)|
|FT Percentage||.750 (9-12)||.880 (22-25)|
WILSON - 5
WALTON - 5
BROWN - 1
GRAF - 1
THOMPSON - 1
FIELER - 1
Eagles see three-game win streak come to an end despite 14 threes
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – After putting together arguably its best offensive first half of the season and building a 19-point lead early in the second half, the FGCU men’s basketball team fell victim to a furious ETSU comeback on Saturday, falling 85-75 in Atlantic Sun action at the MSHA Athletic Center.
The loss denies FGCU its first-ever four-game A-Sun win streak, as the Eagles could have held on to sole possessions of first place, but slip to 12-7 overall and 4-2 in the A-Sun. ETSU (4-13) is now 2-2 in A-Sun play. The Eagles are now tied for first with Stetson (4-2) and Jacksonville (4-2).
Behind 9-of-16 shooting from beyond the arc, FGCU built a 45-32 lead at the half and added to it with two more trifectas in the opening three minutes of the second half to own a 55-36 lead with 16:52 remaining.
The next 13 minutes belonged to ETSU, as the Bucs used runs of 9-0 and 13-1 to eventually build a huge 39-13 spurt that turned what was a 19-point deficit into a 75-68 lead with 3:56 left for the home team. During the game-changing run, ETSU shot a torrid 14-of-21 from the field and 4-of-7 from deep.
Still trailing by seven, 77-70, senior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) drilled his fifth three-pointer of the game, while junior Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) sank a pair of free throws to cut it to a 77-75 game with 44 seconds left.
Just as FGCU was gaining momentum back, the Eagles were whistled for a foul 90 feet from the hoop on the ensuing in-bounds pass, resulting in two free throws for the Bucs and the beginning of an 8-0 run to end that game.
“I’m certainly disappointed with the loss and there’s no good way to lose a game,” said head coach Andy Enfield. “Give ETSU a lot of credit. They hit some tough shots during that stretch, but we also didn’t turn in a good 20 minutes and you have to do that on the road in order to win.”
ETSU’s shooting performance over the 13-minute run helped it shoot 52 percent (27-52) for the game and 61 percent (17-28) in the second half in which it out-scored the Eagles, 53-30. FGCU shot 44 percent (26-59), but was impressive from three-point land, making a season-best 14-of-33. The Bucs made 22-of-25 at the free throw line, while the Green and Blue made 9-of-12.
Brown’s 5-of-11 night from three was part of his second consecutive game with a double-double that featured team-highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) was a big part of the bench’s big turnaround with 14 points on 4-of-8 from three. In Thursday’s overtime win at USC Upstate, the FGCU bench had no points compared to 27 tonight.
Fieler and redshirt sophomore Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy/Iowa State) rounded out the quartet in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Fieler’s floor game also featured five rebounds and five assists, while McKnight was 5-of-6 from the field.
FGCU’s good offensive night was orchestrated by sophomore Brett Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS), who had his third double figure assist game of the season. Comer’s 10 helpers were part of FGCU’s 21 assists on 26 made field goals. The Eagles were hampered by 15 turnovers compared to just eight by ETSU that led to a 14-6 edge in points off miscues for the Bucs.
Freshman Lester Wilson was one of three ETSU players that scored double figures in the second half alone, going for 13 of his game-high 21 points in the final frame. Junior Jarvis Jones had 18 points while freshman point guard Petey McClain had 10 second half points and eight assists to just one turnover.
After playing six A-Sun games in 13 days to open league action, FGCU will return to the friendly confines of Alico Arena where it is 9-0 for a three-game stretch. The Eagles will start the homestand on Thursday, Jan. 17 against Lipscomb. Tip is slated for 7:05 p.m.
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