FORT MYERS, Fla. – Sophomore Adam Liddell scored a game-high 20 points to lead Florida Gulf Coast University to a 78-69 win over Upper Iowa University in semifinal action at the 3rd Annual National Independent Tournament at Alico Arena. The Eagles (16-11) have now won six consecutive games.
FGCU advances to the Independent Finals for the third year, where the meet North Greenville (SC) College, a 78-76 victor in overtime against Central State (OH) in the other semifinal. The tournament features eight schools without a conference affiliation.
The Eagles owned a 45-44 lead with 11:25 to play in the game before a 12-4 run over the next 4:22 game them the lead for good. Larson converted a four-point play to cut the lead to start a 10-43 run that cut the lead to 61-58. Liddell then scored six of the next nine points as FGCU pulled away down the stretch.
FGCU held a 30-29 lead in a first half that featured seven lead changes in the final five minutes before sophomore Casey Wohlleb (Boca Raton, Fla.) drained a three from the left corner as time expired.
Liddell (Auburn, Ind.) hit 7-of-15 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the foul line and added seven rebounds for the Eagles. Junior Beau Bauer (Walton, Ind.) had 16 points, including three three-pointers, while freshman Cecil Avant (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) added 14 points and sophomore Brendan Rooney (Fort Myers, Fla.) 10 points for the winners.
Upper Iowa (4-24) was led by Nick Larson with 15 points.