FORT MYERS, Fla. – After a 2-1 week that included a home win over ACC foe Miami and a trip to No. 9 Duke, FGCU men’s basketball sophomores Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) and Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy/Iowa State) were named the Atlantic Sun Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week, respectively, to sweep the league’s weekly awards.
The A-Sun awards are just the second set handed out by the conference this season, as Thompson and McKnight are the first FGCU duo to sweep the honors. As freshman in 2011-12, Thompson was a two-time A-Sun Newcomer of the Week, while McKnight is eligible for the Newcomer of the Week award due to it being his first season with the Green and Blue after transferring in from Iowa State.
Thompson averaged 16.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 steals over the three games, reaching double figures all three times. At No. 9 Duke, Thompson turned in a career night with 24 points on 9-of-13 from the field, including 6-of-8 from three-point land, to go with a team-best six rebounds and a career-high five steals. He reached double figures in each half against the Blue Devils, including 13 in the second half. Earlier in the week, Thompson had 13 points in the win over Miami and 11 points in limited minutes against Ave Maria.
The rising sophomore ranks fourth in the A-Sun in scoring at 17.3 points per game and leads the league in steals at 3.3 per contest. Thompson has reached double figures in all four games this season, leading the team in scoring twice with a pair of 20-point outings that also included 21 points in the opener at VCU. His six three-pointers at Duke were the second-most in the program’s Division I history, as he’s third in the A-Sun in three-point field goal percentage (.647) and fourth in three-pointers per game (2.8).
McKnight has been solid in his first four games as an Eagle, posting averages of 7.3 points and 5.8 rebounds. To go along with his 5.8 boards which lead the team and rank seventh in the A-Sun, the lengthy forward with a 7-foot-2 wingspan is third in the conference with eight blocks. In the win over Miami, McKnight made a strong debut in front of the FGCU faithful with team-highs of 14 points, eight rebounds in 21 minutes of work.
FGCU is off to a 2-2 start, taking on one of the most difficult schedules in the country that includes three games against opponents that have at least received votes in the Top 25. The Eagles will now host a four-team tournament that is part of the Battle 4 Atlantis that begins on Wednesday and concludes on Thanksgiving night. The Eagles will take on Alcorn State (1-3) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. after Toledo (0-3) faces Samford (1-3) at 4:30 p.m. The winners will face off on Thursday at 7 p.m. with the champion earning an automatic invitation into the 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis held in the Bahamas.
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