Men’s basketball earns two victories at home
In their first two home games in nearly two weeks, the FGCU men’s basketball team hosted Florida Memorial and Florida Tech. Both games ended with dominant victories for the Eagles, putting the team back on a winning streak.
The Eagles first hosted Florida Memorial Friday night, which ended in favor of FGCU, 76-42.
Zach Johnson finished the game with a game-best of 19, just two short of reaching 1,000 for his career. Michael Gilmore reached double-figure points with 10, while Brandon Goodwin finished with 11 points and a team-high five rebounds.
The Eagles strong shooting is what won the Eagles the game. Shooting 48 percent from the floor in the 1st half and 48.4 percent in the 2nd half set up FGCU for its dominant victory.
With less than four minutes left in the 1st half, the Eagles barely had the lead, 25-19. However, a 13-3 run before the half helped the Eagles advance to a 38-22 lead.
“We got off to a slow start, but I thought we took a lot of good shots – especially from 3-point range – that just didn’t fall,” said FGCU head coach Joe Dooley. “In the 2nd half, we got off to a better start and the ball didn’t stick as much. Finishing with 19 assists on 31 field goals was good to see; I thought the guys really shared the ball.”
The run extended into the 2nd half as FGCU went on a 17-5 streak out of the break. The Eagles eventual 28-point lead, 55-27, ultimately set up their 36 point lead late in the game.
Florida Memorial was led by Travis Mitchell, who finished with 17 points while Davon Williams finished with a game-high nine rebounds.
The Lions shot just 24.1 percent from the floor, connecting at only a 12.5-percent clip from beyond the arc.
The Eagles concluded its non-conference play with Division-II Florida Tech on New Year’s Eve Day with a 62-54 victory.
“We had some spurts where we were really good, and then we had a prolonged stretch where we were particularly bad,” said Dooley. “For them to get 31 points off of our turnovers and second-chance points is a problem and has been a bad recurring theme for us. We need to get that straightened out before we start conference play.”
During this game, Zach Johnson became the ninth member in program history to reach 1,000 points. Dooley also made history during this game, reaching 100 career wins with the Eagles.
Dinero Mercurius came off the bench to finish with a team-best 15 points. Brandon Goodwin finished with his third double-double of the year with 13 points, a season-best 11 assists and six rebounds.
The game was tied three different times in the first six minutes, but an Eagles 14-1 run created a 21-8 lead before going into a halftime, 32-23.
Going into the second half, FGCU maintained its lead before Florida Tech went on an 11-0 run. This run gave the Panthers a 46-44 lead with eight minutes left in the game.
Yet, the Eagles responded with an 11-0 run to go back up nine, 55-46. This lead is what closed the game, making the deficit out of reach for the Panthers.
FGCU finished the game with a shooting percentage of 45.5 from the floor, but the Panthers out-rebounded the Eagles, 42-33. This alone produced a 16-4 advantage in second-chance points for Florida Tech.
Next, the Eagles will begin conference play at home against Stetson. The game will be Saturday, Jan. 6, with tipoff at 7 p.m. at Alico Arena.