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Men's Basketball Outlasts Campbell, 72-68
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Reed Baker's 26 points and Derrick O'Neil's strong effort (16 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals) led the Eagles to their first Atlantic Sun victory of the year, defeating Campbell University 72-68 at Alico Arena on Saturday afternoon.
FGCU got off on the right foot, opening the game on a 10-4 run as five different Eagles each hit a field goal in the first 4:11 of the contest. The Camels found their scoring touch quickly, charging back to take the lead 16-12 with 10:09 to play in the first half. FGCU stormed right back, scoring 15 unanswered points, including 10 from Reed Baker. Campbell would again respond with a run of their own, ending the half on an 8-0 run to close the gap to just four points, 38-34. Baker led all scorers in the half with 19 points on 6-9 shooting including 3-5 from three-point range and 4-4 from the free throw line.
Campbell came out in the second half and immediately regained the momentum that they ended the first half with, opening the half on a 13-4 run, keyed by three lay-ups and two free throws from Jonathan Rodriguez. The Eagles quickly regained the lead after an 8-0 spurt capped by a three-pointer and jumper from Delvin Franklin. The teams then exchanged blows for about four minutes, trading the lead twice and drawing even with one another four separate times. With the score tied at 56 the Eagles rattled off nine straight points, giving the home team the lead 65-56 with 4:36 to play. But, just like in the first half, the Camels would not go down easily. After two Preston Dodson layups and a jumper by Lorne Merthie, Campbell cut the lead to 65-62 with 3:04 left. The lead hovered between 3-5 points until a jumper from Chad Thompson made it 68-66 with 36 seconds left. On the next possession, FGCU’s Ed Rolax turned it over and immediately committed a foul. Campbell’s Junard Hartley hit one of two from the line, but the Eagles would again turn the ball over on the ensuing possession. Facing a one-point deficit, Campbell was unable to get off a shot, eventually turning the ball over with 9 seconds left. Reed Baker was fouled and hit both free throws to give FGCU a three point lead. Addison Smith fouled Lorne Merthie before he could get off a shot, sending him to the line with 4 seconds left, where he hit one of his two free throws. Delvin Franklin was fouled immediately after the inbound pass, and Franklin connected on both of his free throws, giving the Eagles a four point advantage with less than 3 seconds left in the game. Campbell’s Chad Thompson three pointer at the buzzer fell short, giving the Eagles a 72-68 victory.
For the Camels (2-5, 0-1), Jonathan Rodriguez led in scoring with 12 points, 10 of which came in the second half, in addition to pulling down a team-high 4 rebounds. Lorne Merthie chipped in 11 points, and Amir Celestin had a team-high 4 assists.
For the Eagles (3-6, 1-1), Reed Baker led all scorers with 26 points, along with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Derrick O’Neil scored 16, pulled down a game-high 9 boards, dished out a game-high 7 assists, and had a game-high 5 steals. Delvin Franklin added 14 points.
The Eagles will be right back at it tomorrow afternoon hosting Johnson & Wales University. Tip-off is set for 5:00 PM.