FORT MYERS, Fla. – Florida Gulf Coast University won its fifth consecutive game as it rolled to a 76-44 win Friday night over the University of District of Columbia in the first round of the 3rd Annual National Independent Tournament at Alico Arena. The tournament features eight schools that lack a conference affiliation.
For the first time in the current win streak, the Eagles (15-11) had some breathing room against the undermanned Firebirds (0-19). Each of the previous four wins had come by nine points or less. The Eagles 32-point margin was their largest of the season.
The Eagles jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game and never looked back. They extended the lead to as many as 21 in the half before settling for a 39-20 halftime lead.
The Firebirds started the second half on an 11-4 run to cut the lead to 12 at 43-31 but the Eagles responded with a 14-4 run to put the game away.
Sophomore forward Casey Wohlleb (Boca Raton, Fla.) led three Eagles in double figures with 13 points. Sophomore forward Adam Liddell (Auburn, Ind.) posted his fourth double-double in five games with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Beau Bauer (Walton, Ind.) chipped in with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Eagles held the Firebirds to 26.2% from the field, including just 6-of-23 from beyond the arc, while connecting on 45.6% from the field and 10-of-27 three-point attempts. FGCU also won the rebounding battle 49-34.
FGCU advances to face Upper Iowa, a 72-67 winner over Johnson & Wales, in semifinal action Saturday at 7:30 p.m. North Greenville, which beat Palm Beach Atlantic 89-61, faces Central State of Ohio, a 73-64 winner over Claflin, in a 5:30 p.m. semifinal game.