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GAME PREVIEW: FGCU and Stetson Set for A-Sun/CSS Friday Night Game of the Week
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||STET|
|FG Percentage||.647 (33-51)||.397 (29-73)|
|3P FG Percentage||.409 (9-22)||.286 (8-28)|
|FT Percentage||.773 (17-22)||.731 (19-26)|
HOLMES - 4
MURRAY - 4
COMER - 4
COMER - 2
VARIDEL - 2
BROWN - 1
FGCU (8-10, 4-4 A-SUN) at Stetson (7-11, 4-4 A-SUN)
DATE: Friday, Jan. 20, 2012
CITY: DeLand, Fla.
SITE: Edmunds Center (4,000)
TIP-OFF: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: Comcast Sports South/ESPN3.com
TALENT: Matt Stewart (P-B-P) & Sonny Smith
CHANNEL: Ch. 70 (Comcast)
LIVE AUDIO: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
TALENT: Tom James (P-B-P) & J. Webb Horton
LIVE AUDIO/STATS: www.FGCUATHLETICS.com
CURRENT STREAK: L1
LAST 5 GAMES: 3-2
LAST 10 GAMES: 5-5
ON THE ROAD: 2-8
SERIES: Tied, 4-4
LAST MEETING: @FGCU 64, Stetson 60 – Feb. 11, 2011
AT A GLANCE
FGCU will hit the halfway point of its league slate when it takes on in-state rival Stetson in the Atlantic Sun/CSS Friday Night Game of the Week at the Edmunds Center. The game will be televised live on Comcast Sports South - channel 70 in southwest Florida - with Matt Stewart and Sonny Smith on the call. FGCU and Stetson enter the contest tied for sixth in the A-Sun standings at 4-4, while the all-time series is also tied at four wins each. Both teams are fresh off a two-game road trip to Nashville where the Eagles earned a split with an overtime 84-80 win at Lipscomb. Two nights later, Stetson also played an overtime contest with the Bison, but fell 104-103 on a three-pointer with one second remaining.
FGCU prevailed in the longest game in program history against the Hatters last year at the Edmunds Center, taking a 111-103 decision in triple-overtime. It marked the first win for the Eagles at the Edmunds Center, as they went on to sweep the season series and tie the all-time series mark at 4-4. Seven of the eight meetings in the rivalry have been decided by 10 points or less, while the home team has won six times.
LEADER OF THE PACK
Freshman BERNARD THOMPSON is making a strong case from A-Sun Freshman of the Year, leading all conference rookies in scoring (12.0), rebounding (5.1) and steals (1.9) - figures that are all in the top 20 in the A-Sun. The Conyers, Ga. product has led FGCU in scoring seven times thanks to a team-best 13 double figure outings that has him 10th overall in the A-Sun in scoring. Thompson has been a force on the boards the last three games, leading the team each contest while averaging 8.7 caroms.
On the strength of a 3-1 A-Sun record at home, Stetson has put together a 4-4 record in league play - just two wins off its total from last year - under first year head coach and longtime Belmont assistant Casey Alexander. The Hatters are led by the A-Sun's top scoring trio in Adam Pegg, Chris Perez and Aaron Graham, who combine for 40.7 points per game. Coming off a career-high 28 points at Lipscomb and three 20-point games in his last four outings, Pegg is fourth in the A-Sun at 14.6 points per game. A transfer from Delaware, Pegg has reached double figures 14 times, while adding a team-best 5.4 rebounds. Stetson has also received an immediate impact from Liberty transfer Perez, who supplies 13.6 points - tied for sixth in the A-Sun. Graham is turning a strong freshman season into a breakout sophomore campaign in which he is averaging 12.6 points thanks to 44 three-pointers. The aforementioned trio all reached the 20-point plateau last game at Lipscomb, but the Hatters fell in overtime at the buzzer.
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.
FGCU is second in the A-Sun at a 37.6 percent clip from three-point range, a mark that ranked 41st in the nation earlier in the week. The Eagles have made at least eight threes in nine of the last 12 games and are fourth in the A-Sun at a 7.2 per game clip. Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is second in the conference individually, shooting 45 percent (36-80) from beyond the arc, while freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN is fourth (43.1), junior Sherwood Brown (40.0) is ninth and freshman BERNARD THOMPSON is 11th (38.2).
A season-best five players reached double figures in FGCU's wins over Toledo, Maine, Jacksonville and most recently Lipscomb, while the Eagles are 5-2 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 (12.0), junior SHERWOOD BROWN (11.6) and sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL (9.7) all rank in the top 30 in the A-Sun in scoring. Out of the eight different players who have scored double figures, six have led the team in scoring at least once, including four off the bench.
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 is second in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.450) and is ninth in the A-Sun in threes per game (2.0). 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.
Freshman BRETT COMER leads the A-Sun and is fourth among all freshmen and 40th nationally in assists per game (5.3). He has reached double figures in eight games, including three of the last four, resulting in 8.7 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. In FGCU's four A-Sun wins, Comer has 27 and just 12 turnovers.
WE'LL PICK YOU UP
Through 18 games, FGCU averages 27.5 points per game off the bench. The bench has supplied a double figure scorer in 15 games, including the team's leading scorer on 10 occasions, while supplying 25+ points 13 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. Junior Sherwood Brown is averaging 13.0 points off the pine (6 games) compared to 10.6 as a starter. Looking further, the bench is shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 42.9 percent (73-170) from three.
FGCU's freshmen class has wasted little time making an impact, accounting for 49 percent of the scoring (33.8), 36 percent of the rebounds (12.5) and 66 percent of the assists (8.3). At least one of the four freshmen has scored in double figures in 16 of 18 games, including the last 10. Led by combo guard BERNARD THOMPSON'S 12.0 points per game, freshmen account for three the Green and Blue's top five scorers. Point guard BRETT COMER leads the A-Sun with 5.3 assists per game, a mark that ranks fourth among freshmen nationally and 40th overall. Comer is fourth on the team in scoring (8.7) followed classmate DANTE HOLMES (8.1). Thompson's 12.0 points are tops among all freshmen and have come on a team-high 13 double figure outings. Freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN has reached double figures five times, including three of the last four.
Sophomore CHASE FIELER has reached double-digits eight times this season compared to five through all of last year, and is averaging 6.8 points and 5.2 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 offensive rebounds (34) and blocks (1.2). He ranks seventh in the A-Sun in blocks and 18th in rebounding.
After playing just two overtime games in A-Sun play over the last three seasons (60 games), FGCU played two over a week span. The Eagles fell at home to UNF, but prevailed at Lipscomb on Saturday for their second-ever A-Sun road OT win. The Eagles played three OT games during their first year in the league (2007-08).
Aside from being the league's top scoring freshman (12.0), BERNARD THOMPSON has used is long 6-foot-3 frame to his benefit on the defensive end. Up until playing Jacksonville, Thompson had a streak of 13 games with steal and ranks second in the A-Sun at 1.9 thefts per game. Thompson has 13 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.
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 4.0 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 59.5 percent (47-79) from the floor over 22.9 minutes per game. Murray has nearly hit all the totals he put up through two full seasons in just 18 games this year.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU
Named the most recent A-Sun Player of the Week by College Sports Madness, junior SHERWOOD BROWN is averaging 11.3 points and 6.0 rebounds over 23 minutes off the bench since returning to the lineup four games ago. Highlighted by his first career double-double at Miami and a 20-point outing against ETSU, Brown has reached double figures eight times in 14 contests, ranking second on the team in both scoring (11.6) and tops in rebounding (5.3) - figures that rank 13th and 17th in the A-Sun, respectively. Brown also ranks 11th in the A-Sun with a 51.7 field goal percentage.
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 10.6 points per game average off the pine is 2.9 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 22 blocks, a figure that is fifth-best in FGCU's Division I history. 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 17 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 10 games (5-5). At least four underclassmen have started in all but two games. FGCU has rolled the same starting five of Comer, Thompson, Holmes, Fieler and Murray the last 10 games (5-5).
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 10 losses on the season have been by 10 points or less, including six by six points or less. The Eagles' eight road losses this season currently all have a winning record and a combined mark of 90-51. 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.
NEW-COMER OF THE WEEK
After averaging 10.5 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 steals over two games, freshman point guard BRETT COMER was named the Atlantic Sun Newcomer of the Week on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Comer's week was highlighted by his first career double of 15 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and four steals during a win over Prairie View A&M.