KENNESAW, Ga. – The FGCU men’s basketball team dropped a tight contest to Kennesaw State Saturday night, 77-70. The Eagles erased an early 12-point deficit to lead 40-36 at halftime, but a late 12-0 run by the Owls was too much to overcome.
With the loss the Eagles drop to 7-14 overall and 4-8 in the A-Sun, while the Owls improve to 10-12 and 5-6 in the conference.
Kennesaw State jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first 2:36, keyed by a pair of three-pointers from Kurtis Woods. After Markeith Cummings completed a three-point play, the Owls’ lead had grown to 12 points (19-7) with 14:37 to play in the first half.
FGCU would battle back, as Reed Baker (Naples, Fla.) connected on back-to-back triples capping an 11-0 run that tied the game at 25 with 6:03 left in the first. Kennesaw State briefly regained the lead, but the Eagles finished the half on a 12-6 run to hold a 40-36 lead at the break.
Out of the locker room the Owls quickly erased the halftime advantage, pulling even at 43 apiece just 2:59 into the second half. The lead would change hands 11 times over the next 11 minutes, with FGCU taking a 63-61 lead after Reggie Chambers (Miramar, Fla.) drilled a three-pointer with 6:35 left in the game.
From that point Kennesaw State held the Eagles scoreless for 5:32, forcing five FGCU turnovers. The Owls scored 12 consecutive points to build a 73-63 lead with 1:18 to play.
Despite the 10-point deficit the Eagles weren’t quite done yet. Ed Rolax (St. Petersburg, Fla.) cut the lead to eight with a layup (73-65) and got fouled with 1:03 to play. He would miss the free throw, but Hunter Miller (Nashville, Tenn.) would get the rebound and lay it in, pulling FGCU within six (73-67) with 1:02 remaining.
After a made free throw by Kurtis Woods, Chambers drilled his third trey of the night and trimmed the deficit to just four (74-70) with 30 seconds left on the clock. Miller then forced a Kennesaw turnover and found Baker wide open, but an unsuccessful three-point attempt would end the comeback bid.
Baker led the Eagles with 16 points while freshman Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla.) added 13 points and nine rebounds. Miller dished out a game-high 10 assists, while adding eight points and a game-high four steals.
Jon-Michael Nickerson led the Owls with 21 points. Cummings, who leads the nation in scoring among freshman, added 16 points and nine boards.
The Blue and Green will conclude their two-game Georgia road trip with a matchup against the Bears of Mercer University on Monday night. The game will be broadcast live in Southwest Florida on CSS (Comcast channel 70), with tip-off scheduled for 9 p.m.
The Eagles land back at home on Thursday, February 4, when they host the Buccaneers of East Tennessee State University, as part of an Eagle hoops doubleheader. The women’s game is scheduled for a 5:15 p.m. start, with the men’s tip-off scheduled for 30 minutes after the conclusion of the FGCU-ETSU women’s game.