GAME PREVIEW: FGCU Wraps Up Non-Conference Play Against Longwood
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Thompson leads all A-Sun freshman in scoring at 11.9 points per game. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Thompson leads all A-Sun freshman in scoring at 11.9 points per game. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Longwood (7-14)
Florida Gulf Coast (10-10)
1/24/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. (Alico Arena) | Attendance: 1625
Florida Gulf Coast4160101
Stats at a GlanceLUFGCU
FG Percentage.339 (21-62) .588 (40-68)
3P FG Percentage.185 (5-27) .565 (13-23)
FT Percentage.611 (11-18) .533 (8-15)
Offensive Rebounds99
Defensive Rebounds2037
Total Rebounds2946
Bench Points849
Statistical LeadersLUFGCU
PointsCarter - 18
BROWN - 20
ReboundsCarter - 9
BROWN - 10
AssistsBowman - 4
COMER - 12
StealsBowman - 1
Carter - 1
Carey - 1
van der Kooij - 1
BlocksCarey - 1

FGCU (9-10, 5-4 A-SUN) vs. Longwood (7-13)
DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012
CITY: Fort Myers, Fla.
SITE: Alico Arena (4,500)
TIP-OFF: 7:05 p.m. ET
TALENT: David Moulton (P-B-P)
J. Webb Horton (Analyst)
AT HOME: 6-2
SERIES: Longwood leads, 1-0
LAST MEETING: @Longwood 82, FGCU 75 - Dec. 5, 2009

Off to its best start in Atlantic Sun action (5-4) in program history following a win at Stetson last Friday, FGCU will take a break from conference play on Tuesday night when it hosts Longwood in its final non-conference game of the season. A victory over Longwood would equal the Eagles' win total from all of last year (10) and move the Green and Blue to .500, the latest they've been .500 or better since joining Division I in 2007-08. Tuesday night marks the start of a three-game homestand for FGCU over a six-day span at Alico Arena where it is 6-2 on the season. The Eagles are fresh off scoring season-high 92 points at Stetson on a 64.7 percent field goal clip (33-51) - a program Division I record and second-best figure in school history.

The lone meeting between the two teams came on Dec. 5, 2009, in Farmville, Va. where Longwood defeated FGCU, 82-75. Five players reached double figures for the Lancers in the win, led by then-sophomore and now-senior Antwan Carter's game-high 20 points. SHERWOOD BROWN had 14 points, six rebounds and four steals off the bench in the meeting, which was his freshman season.

Freshman BERNARD THOMPSON is making a strong case from A-Sun Freshman of the Year, leading all conference rookies in scoring (11.9), rebounding (4.9) 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 14 double figure outings that has him 12th overall in the A-Sun in scoring.

The Lancers are in their final year of being independent, announcing they will join the Big South Conference starting July 1, 2012. Tuesday night will be Longwood's fifth straight road game in the last two weeks and 11th of the season. Led by four players in double figures, the Lancers average 74.3 points while committing just 12.1 turnovers per game. Senior forward Antwan Carter ranks 38th in the nation in scoring at 18.3 points, while his team-best 8.9 rebounds are tied for 46th nationally. Carter has 1,650 career points and has averaged more than 14 points per game for three straight years. Senior point guard Jeremiah Bowman adds a 5.9 assists per game - 26th in the nation - to his 13.7 points and team-high 30 steals. Sophomore Tristan Carey and senior Martiz Carey have a combined 82 three-pointers to round out the double figure scorers, helping the Lancers make 8.6 treys per game - 14th-most in the nation.

LAST GAME: Comer Leads FGCU Past Stetson, 92-85
DELAND, Fla. - Behind a season-high 24 points and seven assists from freshman BRETT COMER and four other players in double figures, FGCU came away with a 92-85 win at Stetson in the Atlantic Sun/CSS Friday Night Game of the Week at the Edmunds Center in front of 2,175 fans. • Comer scored 12 points in each half en route to the highest scoring effort by an Eagle this season, as the Green and Blue picked up their fourth consecutive win over the Hatters. • Five players reached double figures for the third time in the last four games, as the Eagles passed out 18 assists on a 65 percent (33-51) shooting night from the field. FGCU’s season-best 92 points came on a season-high clip from the floor and 17-of-22 night from the free throw line that helped it overcome giving up 25 offensive rebounds that led 29 second chance points by Stetson. • Trailing 49-42 early in the second half, FGCU turned the game around with a 24-6 run that started at the 16:40 mark and ended with under 10 minutes left in the half and the Eagles holding a 66-55 lead. The Eagles went a scorching 9-of-11 from the field over the game-changing run, while six players scored during that stretch.

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.

Coming off a program Division I record 64.7 percent shooting night (33-51) at Stetson, FGCU is second in the A-Sun in both field goal percentage (.465) and three-point percentage (.378). The Eagles have been held below 40 percent in a game just two times this season, while going 5-1 when breaking the 50-percent plateau. FGCU's current 46.5 field goal percentage is on pace to break the single-season record and snap a string over four straight years at 42 percent or lower.

Freshman BRETT COMER leads the A-Sun and is third among all freshmen and 41st nationally in assists per game (5.4). He has reached double figures in nine games, including three of the last four, resulting in 9.5 points per game. Over his recent five-game run, he is averaging 14 points, going 26-of-43 from the floor with an even or positive assists/turnover ratio all five contests. Comer has led the team in assists in all but one game and has passed out seven or more helpers six times. In FGCU's five A-Sun wins, Comer has 34 assists and 17 turnovers.

Through 19 games, FGCU averages 28.2 points per game off the bench. The bench has supplied a double figure scorer in 16 games, including the team's leading scorer on 10 occasions, while scoring 25+ points 14 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 47.2 percent from the field and 44 percent (80-182) from three. Last game at Stetson, the bench produced 41 points, just three off the season-high of 44 at Loyola Maryland.

FGCU is second in the A-Sun at a 37.8 percent clip from three-point range, a mark that ranks 48th in the nation. The Eagles have made at least eight threes in 10 of the last 13 games and are fourth in the A-Sun at a 7.3 per game clip. Sophomore CHRISTOPHE VARIDEL is third in the conference individually, shooting 45 percent (38-85) from beyond the arc, while freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN is fourth (.435), junior Sherwood Brown (.400) is 10th and freshman BERNARD THOMPSON is 11th (.375).

A season-best five players have reached double figures in five of FGCU's last nine games (5-0), while the Eagles are 6-2 when four or more players reach double-digits in the same game. Freshman BRETT COMER'S 24 points at Stetson were the most by an Eagle this season as he became the fourth player to reach the 20 point plateau. A total of eight players have reached the double-digits this season, while six have led the team in scoring at least once.

FGCU's freshmen class has wasted little time making an impact, accounting for 49 percent of the scoring (34.8), 36 percent of the rebounds (12.4) and 66 percent of the assists (8.5). At least one of the four freshmen has scored in double figures in 17 of 19 games, including the last 11, while the Eagles are 5-0 when three members of the quartet accomplish the feat. Led by combo guard BERNARD THOMPSON'S 11.9 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 third among freshmen nationally. Comer is fourth on the team in scoring (9.5) followed classmate DANTE HOLMES (8.4). Thompson's 11.9 points are tops among all freshmen and have come on a team-high 14 double figure outings. Freshman FILIP CVJETICANIN has reached double figures five times, and has multiple threes in a game on nine occasions.

Named the A-Sun Player of the Week by College Sports Madness on Jan. 17, junior SHERWOOD BROWN ranks second on the team in scoring (11.6) and tops in rebounding (5.1) - figures that rank 15th and 17th in the A-Sun, respectively. Highlighted by his first career double-double at Miami and a 20-point outing against ETSU, Brown has reached double figures nine times in 15 contests, and also ranks 12th in the A-Sun with a 51.6 FG percentage.

Sophomore CHASE FIELER has reached double-digits eight times this season compared to five through all of last year, and is averaging 6.6 points and 5.1 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).

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 third in the A-Sun in three-point percentage (.447) and is 11th 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.

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 (11.9), 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 14 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. As a team, FGCU ranks third in the A-Sun and good for 41st in the country (8.3).

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 6.9 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 60.7 percent (51-84) from the floor over 22.8 minutes per game. Murray has surpassed all the totals he put up through two full seasons in just 19 games this year.

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 10.3 points per game average off the pine is 2.6 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.

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, while they scored a season-high 52 points in the final 20 minutes at Stetson on 17-of-25 from the field. 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 eighth in the A-Sun with 22 blocks, a figure that is fifth-best in FGCU's Division I history. The Eagles produce 3.9 blocks per game, a figure that is second in the league.

First-year head coach ANDY ENFIELD has used seven different lineups through 19 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 at least four underclassmen have started in all but three games. FGCU rolled out the same starting five of Comer, Thompson, Holmes, Fieler and Murray for 10 consecutive games (5-5) before Stetson.

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.