FORT MYERS, Fla. - Early turnovers put the Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team in a hole it could not dig its way out of on Sunday as Jacksonville University defeated FGCU 82-58 at Alico Arena.
The Eagles (5-10, 2-4 A-Sun) committed 13 turnovers in the first half and 21 in the game. Freshman forward Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) recorded his second double-double of the season, leading FGCU with 14 points and a career high 12 rebounds.
“It was a real poor job on our part handling their pressure,” FGCU coach Dave Balza said. “They did a good job getting points off our turnovers.”
The Blue and Green took a 14-13 lead with 12:26 remaining in the first half after a jumper by junior guard Reed Baker (Naples, Fla.). That’s when the turnover woes began for the Eagles as Jacksonville (6-8, 3-3 A-Sun) forced FGCU into seven turnovers over the next nine minutes. The Dolphins went on a 22-4 run during that span to take a commanding 35-18 lead.
FGCU went into the locker room trailing JU 38-25 at the half.
The Eagles cut the lead to 11 in the first minute of the second half only to see the Dolphins go on a 10-0 run to take a 48-27 lead with 17:27 remaining. Jacksonville led by as many as 25 points in the second half before FGCU began to chip away at the lead.
Senior forward Kyle Marks (West Palm Beach, Fla.) made a jump shot with 6:18 remaining to cut the lead to 66-52, followed by an old-fashioned 3-point play roughly a minute later to cut the lead to 69-55.
FGCU got within 13 with 2:46 to play (71-58) after a Derrick O’Neil (Moreno Valley, Calif.) free throw, but Jacksonville closed the game on an 11-0 run (82-58).
Marks finished with 12 points for FGCU while Baker finished with 11. O’Neil chipped in with 10 points for the Eagles.
Ben Smith led all scorers for Jacksonville with 25 points. Lehmon Colbert added 19 points of his own on 8-of-10 shooting.
The Blue and Green are back in action Thursday when they take on Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina at 8 p.m. , followed by another A-Sun road game at East Tennessee State University Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Eagles land back at home Friday, January 22 when they host the Owls of Kennesaw State University. Tip-off for that game is set for 7:05 p.m. at Alico Arena.