Dallas, Texas – The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team fell to Southern Methodist, 79-62 on Saturday night at the Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas. SMU used a 16-5 run early in the second half to move past the Eagles and hand them their third loss of the season.
“We showed a lot of heart tonight,” said head coach Dave Balza.” We came back to tie the game after being down, but their size and tenacity on the boards proved to be the difference.”
Sophomore Reggie Chambers (Miramar, Fla.) and senior Derrick O’Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.) led the Eagles in scoring with 12 points. Chambers hit double figures for the second time in three games this season. O’Neil pulled down a team-high five rebounds, while junior forward Charlie Lytle (Clearwater, Fla.) scored seven.
“We had some great individual performances,” added Balza.” Lutkenhaus played great defense, Chambers handled the ball well, Miller added some good points off the bench and O’Neil had one of his best games this season.”
FGCU (0-3) didn’t have trouble getting started, the Eagles went on 6-0 run capped by back-to-back field goals by Lytle to start the first three minutes of the game. Lytle scored all of his seven points in the first half.
SMU (1-2) quickly answered with an 11-0 run of the own, spanning nearing six minutes. During that run, Justin Haynes scored four of his 17 points on the night.
The Eagles slowly chipped away at the Mustangs lead, and tied the game with just over one minute remaining in the first half. Chambers hit both free throws to even the score at 29.
The Eagles took their second lead of the game with 30 seconds left on the clock. Hunter Miller (Nashville, Tenn.) pulled down a board with 37 seconds left, and gave it to Reed Baker (Naples, Fla.). Baker sent a great pass to O’Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.) in the paint and O’Neil made the layup to put the Eagles up 31-29.
It looked as if the Eagles were going into the half with the lead, but the Mustangs’ Mouhammad Faye hit a jumper from 10-feet out at the buzzer to tie the game, 31-31.
In the second half, a Paul McCoy three-pointer on the Mustangs' first possession lead to a 16-5 run that the Eagles couldn’t recover from.
On the night, SMU out-rebounded FGCU by a 44-23 margin. FGCU shot 43.1 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from behind the arc, while SMU shot 43.6 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from behind the arc. FGCU finished with 31 points off the bench and 10 fast break points.
Faye and McCoy each pitched in a team-high 18 points, while Papa Dia added eight points and eight rebounds for SMU.
The road trip isn’t over yet, FGCU travels south to face Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. on Wednesday (Nov. 25) at 7:30 p.m., before landing back at home on Dec. 1 to face Bethune-Cookman. The home-opener is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. start. For tickets, please contact the Alico Arena Box Office at (239) 590-7145.