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FGCU Falls to Bethune-Cookman in Home Opener
FORT MYERS, Fla—The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team suffered its first home loss of the season Tuesday night as it fell 67-59 to Bethune-Cookman in front of 2,043 fans at Alico Arena.
The Eagles fell to 0-5 on the season while Bethune-Cookman improved to 4-3.
Freshman forward Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) led FGCU with 15 points while sophomore guard Reggie Chambers (Miramar, Fla.) chipped in with 10 points.
FGCU struggled with the Wildcats’ full court pressure defense in the first half as they committed 13 turnovers.
The Eagles adjusted in the second half turning, the ball over just four times but fell victim to Bethune’s hot shooting. Wildcat guard Kevin Dukes drilled four 3-pointers himself in the second half and Bethune shot 51 percent from the field for the game and 75 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Wildcats led by as many as 22 points before FGCU mounted a comeback. The Eagles cut the lead to five thanks to several key layups by Chambers and Banks but could not get any closer as there was just 23 seconds left on the clock.
FGCU outrebounded its opponent for the second straight contest as it held a 37-28 advantage over Bethune-Cookman on the glass. Senior forward Derrick O’Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.) led the Eagles with nine rebounds.
Junior guard Reed Baker (Naples, Fla.) and senior forward Kyle Marks (West Palm Beach, Fla.) each had nine points for the Eagles.
Dukes led Bethune-Cookman with 16 points.
The Eagles are back in action Saturday when they travel to play Longwood at 2 p.m. FGCU’s next home game is December 12 against Florida International University.
“I think it’s a good thing that we are getting back out there and playing quickly again,” FGCU coach Dave Balza said. “(Longwood) is an athletic club like Bethune. Keeping the ball in front of us will be a huge key.”