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GAME PREVIEW: FGCU Heads to the Music City to Face Lipscomb
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||LIP|
|FG Percentage||.416 (32-77)||.439 (29-66)|
|3P FG Percentage||.250 (8-32)||.444 (12-27)|
|FT Percentage||.600 (12-20)||.476 (10-21)|
GLENN - 4
FIELER - 2
BROWN - 2
BURGASON - 2
SMITH - 2
ROLAX - 1
MURRAY - 1
CANTINOL - 1
AT A GLANCE
FGCU will begin a three-game Atlantic Sun road swing on Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn. when it heads to Allen Arena to take on Lipscomb. The Bison are part of a five-way tie for third place in the A-Sun at 3-2, as eight of the 10 teams are .500 or better in league play. The Eagles will look to snap a four-game skid against the Bison, while also picking up their second straight A-Sun road win. In its last conference road game, FGCU defeated Kennesaw State, while a win over Lipscomb would mark just the second two-game A-Sun road win streak in program history. The Eagles are 4-2 since returning from the Christmas break and have received 22 double figure scoring performances over that span.
Lipscomb leads the all-time series by a 6-1 margin after sweeping the last two season series. The Bison are averaging 86.3 points during their four-game win streak over the Eagles. FGCU is 0-3 against Lipscomb at Allen Arena and just 1-6 all-time in the Music City. Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL averaged 15.0 points on the strength of seven threes in two meetings last year.
FGCU leads the A-Sun at a 39.7 percent clip from three-point range, a mark that ranks 29th in the nation. The Eagles have made at least eight threes in eight of the last 10 games and are fourth in the A-Sun at a 7.3 per game clip. Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL leads the conference individually, shooting 47 percent (34-72) from beyond the arc, while freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN is fourth (44.9) and freshman BERNARD THOMPSON fifth (44.2).
Returning to Allen Arena for the first time since Dec. 6, Lipscomb ends a string of seven consecutive road games on Saturday night. The Bison ended the lengthy road swing in style, handing crosstown rival Belmont its first A-Sun loss of the season on its home court eight days ago. The second-highest scoring team in the A-Sun (74.6), Lipscomb sports five players that average 9.1 points or better. Senior Jordan Burgason leads the team in scoring at 15.4 points, a figure that would rank fourth in the A-Sun if he was eligible for rankings due to not playing 75 percent of the team's games. Burgason would also lead the league in three-pointers per game (3.6) and three-point percentage (52.4). Over the last five games, Burgason is averaging 19.6 points, highlighted by a 30-point night at Iowa State. True freshman Zavion Williams is second to only FGCU's Bernard Thompson in scoring amongst A-Sun freshmen at 11.2 per contest.
LAST GAME: Late Push Helps FGCU Fend Off Jacksonville, 77-66
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A 9-0 run over the final 4:02 of the game and balanced scoring attack that featured five players in double figures highlighted a 77-66 Atlantic Sun win for FGCU over a feisty Jacksonville squad on Monday night at Alico Arena. • Freshman BERNARD THOMPSON provided game-highs of 16 points and seven rebounds, scoring eight of the nine points during the decisive run. During the final 4:02, FGCU held Jacksonville scoreless on eight possessions, breaking down into 0-of-4 from the field, 0-of-2 from the free throw line and three turnovers. • Junior SHERWOOD BROWN provided a big spark off the bench, going for 15 points and six rebounds on a night that saw FGCU out-score JU 30-16 off the pine. Bench scoring differential and foul shooting plagued the Green and Blue two days ago in its overtime loss to UNF, but the Eagles rebounded on the stripe, as well, knocking down 20-of-26 in a physical affair that saw the two teams combined for 40 fouls. • FGCU never relinquished its lead in the second half, but Jacksonville was able to climb within one, 58-57, at the midway point before eventually working it down to a 68-66 game with 4:02 to play.
NEW COACH, NEW HOPES
On March 31st, the FGCU men’s basketball program got a new look for its 10th season in program history when ANDY ENFIELD was named head coach. Enfield, who spent the previous five years as an assistant with Florida State, is the second head coach in FGCU’s brief history. While at FSU, Enfield was a part of two teams that advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and back-to-back clubs that lead the NCAA in defensive field goal percentage.
A season-best five players reached double figures in FGCU's wins over Toledo, Maine and most recently Jacksonville, while the Eagles are 4-2 when four or more players reach double-digits in the same game. A total of eight players have reached the double-digit plateau this season, while freshman BERNARD THOMPSON (12.4), junior SHERWOOD BROWN (11.8) and sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL (10.2) all rank in the top 25 in the A-Sun in scoring. Out of the eight different players who have scored double figures, five have led the team in scoring at least once, including three off the bench.
Freshman BRETT COMER leads the A-Sun and is fourth among all freshmen and 40th nationally in assists per game (5.4). He has reached double figures in seven games, resulting in 8.8 points per game. Comer has led the team in assists in all but one game and has passed out seven or more helpers five times. Over the last two games, Comer is averaging 14.5 points, 5.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds.
WE'LL PICK YOU UP
Through 16 games, FGCU averages 27.3 points per game off the bench, a figure that results in a +6.2 margin per game. The bench has supplied a double figure scorer in 13 games, including the team's leading scorer on eight occasions, while supplying 25+ points 11 times as a unit. At SMU, sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL poured in 20 points on 6-of-7 from three-point land and turned in another 20-point game against Maine to account for the top two bench efforts. Looking further, the bench is shooting 47.6 percent (150-315) from the field and 45.5 percent (65-143) from three.
Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL has found his stroke that helped him finish fifth in the nation among all freshmen in 2010-11 with 78 three-pointers. Varidel leads the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.472) and free throw percentage (.897). He is also ninth in the A-Sun in threes per game (2.1). The Versoix, Switzerland native has made three or more treys in a game seven times this season. He has also reached double-digits six times, including a team-best two 20-point outings. At the charity stripe, Varidel has gone 22-of-24 over the last five games.
FGCU's freshmen class has wasted little time making an impact, accounting for 49 percent of the scoring, 35 percent of the rebounds and 64 percent of the assists. At least one of the four freshmen has scored in double figures in 14 of 16 games, including the last eight. Led by combo guard BERNARD THOMPSON'S 12.4 points per game, freshmen account for three the Green and Blue's top five scorers. Point guard BRETT COMER leads the A-Sun with 5.4 assists per game, a mark that ranks fourth among freshmen nationally and 40th overall. Comer is tied for fourth on the team in scoring (8.8) followed classmate DANTE HOLMES (7.9). Thompson's 12.4 points are tops among all freshmen and have come on a team-high 12 double figure outings. FILIP CVJETICANIN has reached double figures four times.
Sophomore CHASE FIELER has reached double-digits seven times this season compared to five through all of last year, and is averaging 6.9 points and a team-high 5.3 rebounds. Against Maine, Fieler hauled down a career-high 11 rebounds to go with 11 points for his first double-double. Fieler leads the team in both rebounds and blocks (1.3), figures that rank 16th and seventh in the A-Sun, respectively. The Parkersburg, W. Va. product also leads the team with 29 offensive rebounds.
Aside from being the league's top scoring freshman (12.4), BERNARD THOMPSON has used is long 6-foot-3 frame to his benefit on the defensive end. Last game against Jacksonville, Thompson had his streak of 13 games with steal snapped, but ranks second in the A-Sun at 1.9 thefts per game. Thompson has 11 multi-steal performances, highlighted by four against UNF. Thompson is on pace for 60 steals, a mark that would finish top five in single-season history.
FGCU not only leads the A-Sun in three-point shooting percentage, but also overall field goal percentage at a 46.3 percent clip. The Eagles have been held below 40 percent in a game just one time this season, while going 4-1 when breaking the 50-percent plateau.
Coming off a season in which he played just 84 total minutes, redshirt junior EDDIE MURRAY is thriving under the guidance of first-year head coach ANDY ENFIELD. Armed with athleticism and leadership, Murray is providing a youthful roster with career-highs of 6.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. The Fort Myers product produced his first career double-double against Toledo, going for 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds over 36 minutes. Murray is shooting 58.6 percent (41-70) from the floor over 22.7 minutes per game. Murray has nearly hit all the totals he put up through two full seasons in just 16 games this year.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU
Highlighted by his first career double-double at Miami and a 20-point outing against ETSU, junior SHERWOOD BROWN has reached double figures seven times in 12 contests, ranking second on the team in both scoring (11.8) and rebounding (5.2) - figures that rank 10th and 17th in the A-Sun, respectively. Brown also ranks fourth in the A-Sun with a 54.6 field goal percentage and 43 percent mark from beyond the arc.
A big part of the early success of the FGCU bench has been the performance of sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL off the pine. Varidel has been in the starting lineup, but has turned in season-highs off the bench. His 10.8 points per game average off the pine is 3.1 points better than his average in the starting five. Varidel poured in 20 points at SMU and against Maine, 17 at Loyola Maryland and 16 against Toledo to lead the team in scoring all four times off the bench.
SECOND HALF SURGE
Highlighted by freshman BERNARD THOMPSON'S 18 points at Kennesaw State and three second half performances of 15 points by three different players, FGCU has turned in some great stretches over the final 20 minutes. At Miami, FGCU tied a program D-1 record for second half points given up by limiting the Hurricanes to 18 points on 4-of-24 from the field. At Nebraska, the Eagles limited the Huskers to just 25 second half points. SHERWOOD BROWN (at Miami), BRETT COMER (Ave Maria) and Thompson (at Loyola) have all scored 15 points in one second half. More proof of FGCU's balance, five different players have scored double figure points in at least one second half.
Sophomore CHASE FIELER finished one block shy of equaling a program single-game record against USC Upstate (Dec. 19), turning away five shots. Fieler ranks seventh in the A-Sun with 20 blocks, helping the Eagles produce 4.0 blocks per game, a figure that is second in the league.
First-year head coach ANDY ENFIELD has used seven different lineups through 16 games trying to find the right combination with his young team. Nine different players have started at least one game, while four freshmen have earned a starting nod. No one has started every game, while three freshmen were in the starting five each of the last eight games (4-4). At least four underclassmen have started in all but two games.
Freshman BERNARD THOMPSON earned a pair of weekly awards Jan. 2 -3. He was named the College Sports Madness A-Sun Player of the Week, while the league office named him the Newcomer of the Week. The award came after Thompson had 15 points and nine rebounds against Maine and followed with 13 points at Mercer.
Eight of FGCU's nine losses on the season have been by 10 points or less , including six by six points or less. The Eagles' seven road losses this season currently all have a winning record and a combined mark of 71-39. A trio of one-point defeats in the Fort Worth/Dallas area against TCU (73-72) and SMU (65-64), and at Nebraska (51-50) headline the heartbreaking losses.