(5-8, 0-2 A-Sun)
(8-7, 2-0 A-Sun)
1/1/2014 | Alico Arena (Fort Myers, FL) | Attendance: 3368
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||FGCU|
|3P FG Percentage||.360
DUNK CITY, Fla. – Led by a career-high-tying 24 points from junior guard Brett Comer, the FGCU men’s basketball team (8-7, 2-0 Atlantic Sun Conference) cruised to a 75-62 win over visiting Lipscomb (5-8, 0-2 A-Sun) Wednesday night at Alico Arena to start league play 2-0 for the first time in program history.
Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS), who also reached 500 career assists in the contest, scored 14 points in the first half and added 10 more in the first 4:19 of the second stanza as part of a 15-5 FGCU run which put the game out of reach early. Dajuan Graf (Charlotte, N.C./Phillip O. Berry Academy) scored a career-high 13 points, a total matched by Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS).
Making his first start of the year, Eric McKnight (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy) corralled a career-best 10 rebounds and added six points while rejecting three shots in the Iowa State transfer’s best all-around game of his young season. Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) grabbed 10 boards – his fourth double-figure rebounding performance in the last seven games – while also tallying six points.
With the win, FGCU runs its record over the past 23 games at Alico Arena to 21-2, including a 12-1 mark in the last 13 contests dating back to last year. Additionally, FGCU commences league action with two straight wins. In all six of their previous seasons as an A-Sun member the Eagles began each year 1-1, with the exception of 2010-11 when they opened 0-2.
“I thought that we got off to a pretty good start,” head coach Joe Dooley said. “Lipscomb did a really good job, especially in the first half. They spread us out and shot some 3s – they made six in the first half – but we were able to eliminate some of those in the second half.
“But the guys were pretty locked in, and I thought we moved the ball more aggressively, especially early,” Dooley continued. “With the exception of a few minutes late in the game I thought we were pretty clean with the ball and we made a lot of good plays.”
The 15-5 run to start the second half was part of a larger 20-5 stretch bridging both halves which turned a four-point game at 34-30 into a 19-point lead at 54-35. After allowing Lipscomb to shoot 6-15 (40 percent) from the 3-point line in the first half, the Green and Blue allowed the Bisons to connect on just 3-10 opportunities from long range in the second half.
The FGCU defense, which entering the game was surrendering a league-low 66.2 points per game, held Lipscomb to 38-percent shooting (20-52) while the Eagles shot 49 percent (26-53) despite a 4-19 (21 percent) performance from beyond the 3-point line.
The taller Eagles – who also pushed the ball at every opportunity against the Bisons – controlled the low blocks, out-scoring the Nashville-based school in the paint, 36-18, and dominating the rebounding battle, 41-31.
With FGCU trailing 14-13 at the 12:10 mark of the first half, Comer went on his own personal 8-0 run in just over two minutes to give the Eagles what was then their largest lead of the night at 21-14. Lipscomb trimmed its deficit to three on two different occasions, but a half-closing 5-0 run – including a steal and buzzer-beating jumper from Thompson – propelled the Eagles to their largest lead of the game at that point heading into the break, 39-30.
Lipscomb – the only team to defeat FGCU twice last year – was led by 20 points from junior Martin Smith, who came into the contest second in the A-Sun in scoring at 17.3 points per game. Malcolm Smith tallied 15 and freshman J.C. Hampton added 14 points to complete the trio of double-figure scorers.
Comer – who is on pace to lead the A-Sun in assists for the third straight year – had just one assist in his 20 minutes of action, but reached 500 helpers for his career, becoming only the 15th player in conference history to accomplish the feat. The junior still has all of this season and next to surpass the all-time record of 613 set by Centenary’s Napoleon Byrdsong from 1979-83. If the 6-3 guard continues on his career average of 6 assists per game, he will not only own the record but shatter it as he’ll approach 800 by the end of his senior season.
FGCU now travels to Stetson to take on the Hatters Sunday, Jan. 5. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m., and the game will be shown on CSS, representing FGCU’s seventh national or regional TV appearance of the year already and third on CSS.
GAME NOTES: Graf added two assists and three rebounds while connecting on 4-7 from the field and 5-7 from the free-throw line … Filip Cvjeticanin added six points off the bench … Jamail Jones tallied five points and grabbed three rebounds while adding two steals and two assists … FGCU committed just 12 turnovers and Lipscomb 10 … FGCU’s bench out-scored Lipscomb’s, 21-9.
For up-to-the-minute information and behind-the-scenes access to the men’s basketball program, follow @FGCU_MBB on Twitter and Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook at /FGCUMBB.
2013-14 men’s basketball season tickets are selling quickly, and only a limited amount remain. New this year are mini-plan packages for all games, with the exception of “Breakfast at the Beach,” and individual-game tickets are now on sale. Fans can reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets.