NASSAU, Bahamas – Behind a well-balanced offensive attack and improved effort on the defensive end, the FGCU men’s basketball team took care of business on the second day of its Summer of Thunder tour in the Bahamas with a 102-69 win over the Mailboat Cybots Thursday night at Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
Junior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) scored 17 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, while sophomore Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) also scored 20 points. Brown was one of two Eagles with a double-double, as he added 10 rebounds, and was joined by junior Chase Fieler’s (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) 15 points and 11 boards.
Just a night removed from giving up 95 points to the Commonwealth Bank Giants in a 110-95 win, the Eagles gave up less than 20 points in each of the first three quarters. FGCU limited the Cybots to 38 percent (29-76) from the floor and forced 17 turnovers.
FGCU was able to reach the 100-point plateau for the second straight night thanks to shooting 47 percent (40-85), including 10 three-pointers, and 19 offensive rebounds. Senior Eddie Murray (North Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds to lead the Green and Blue’s 58-40 edge on the glass.
“We were a much better team tonight compared to last night,” said head coach Andy Enfield. “In fairness to the guys, yesterday was a long day and they were tired after getting up really early, but I thought our execution along with the effort were both better tonight.”
One thing that was similar to Wednesday night was FGCU’s ability to knock down the three. Sophomore Filip Cvjeticanin (Zagreb, Croatia/American School of Madrid) and Thompson knocked down three triples apiece, while six of the seven players had at least one three-pointer. Cvjeticanin had 19 points – keyed by nine in the third quarter – and has six threes in the two games.
Many of FGCU’s 10 threes were wide open thanks to good ball movement. Freshman DaJuan Graf (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O. Berry HS) led the team with five assists, as the Eagles dished out 22 assists on 40 made field goals.
FGCU opened an 11-4 lead in the first quarter, ignited by five points from Fieler who hit a three-pointer from the top of the key and capped the good start with a nice step-back jumper from the left baseline.
The Cybots were able to cut it to a one-point game, 19-18, with less than three minutes to play in the opening quarter, but FGCU was able to create some separation with the final seven points of the frame. Cvjeticanin, who hit three trifectas on Wednesday night, knocked down his first long range field of the game, while Brown converted a floater in the lane to give the Eagles a 26-18 lead at the end of the first.
Fieler extended the run to 10-0 on the opening possession of the second quarter, powering through a group of defenders underneath for the old-fashioned three-point play and a 29-18 lead.
After giving up eight straight points to make it 44-35, the Eagles turned in another strong finish to a quarter, this time doubling their run from the first frame with the final 14 points. Thompson was the catalyst in the game-changing spurt, drilling a pair of threes from the left wing, while it was another floater from Brown before the buzzer that gave the Green and Blue a 58-35 lead at the break.
Playing much organized that Wednesday night, FGCU shot a torrid 56 percent in the opening 20 minutes and passed out assists on 13 of the 24 field goals. Brown had a major hand in the shooting percentage, knocking down 8-of-9 from the floor for 17 points, while Thompson had 12.
The FGCU run reached 18-0 after layups by Brown and Murray gave the Eagles a 62-35 lead less than a minute into the third quarter. The Cybots did reel off an 8-0 run midway through the quarter, but Cvjeticanin ignited Eagles to a strong finish, scoring nine points during a 15-5 run. The reached as many as 32 and FGCU owned a 79-48 edge through three quarters.
Like Wednesday night’s opponent the Commonwealth Giants, the Cybots are a professional team in the Bahamas that is part of the New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA). The Cybots won the Vince Ferguson Division of the NPBA last year with a 14-2 record.
FGCU will conclude its three-game tour on Friday night at 7 p.m. when it takes on the Grand Bahamas All-Stars. The Grand Bahamas All-Stars are part of the “Summer of Thunder,” hosting games against Norfolk State, Arizona, Indiana State, Tulane, UNC-Charlotte, Morgan State, Central Michigan and Cal State Bakersfield in the month of August.
Fans and media can follow the Eagles in the Bahamas through several social media outlets. Live in-game updates will be available on twitter, recaps and postgame interviews on www.FGCUATHLETICS.com, while pictures will also be available on twitter and the team’s Instagram and Facebook pages. A full listing of FGCU men’s basketball’s social media outlets is below.