For the fourth time this season, the Eagles let up a double-digit lead slip away, this time to in-state rival FIU 91-88. The loss is the Eagles sixth of the year and four of them have come in the past five games.
With seconds remaining in the game, Brandon Goodwin was fouled nearly 200 feet from the hoop with the Eagles down three. He missed the first and intentionally missed the second in order to get an offensive rebound. FGCU did get the rebound from Brady Ernst, but Dinero Mercurius last second try to tie the game from three was off.
As a team, the Eagles short 47.5 from the field and defensively could not stop Trejon Jacob, who had a career-high 38 points while knocking down seven triples.
“Our defense was terrible again, and our ability to care of the ball is non-existent right now, said head coach Joe Dooley. “We need to find our identity, because right now we don’t have one. It’s inexcusable to give up more than one double-figure lead in an entire season, and we’ve done it four times now.”
The Panthers led early versus the Eagles, but Mercurius was able to knock his first three of the half down a little before midway through the first half, and the Eagles only trailed by two.
FGCU at one point in the first half was shooting over 60% from the field, but turned the ball over 10 times in the first 16 minutes of the game and had a three-point lead going into the break.
It seemed at one point the Eagles were unbeatable when leading at the half, but once again this season, it was not the case. FGCU raced out to a 10-point lead in the early moments of the second half, but FIU responded with one of their own shortly after and regained a two-point lead with 11:56 left in the half.
The lead for the Panthers grew to seven with under four minutes to go, and even trailing by six with just a minute to go, FGCU would have there chance to force overtime, but could was unable on the final shot.
The three guards for the Eagles in Zach Johnson, Brandon Goodwin, and Christian Terrell combined for 54 of the teams 88 points. Goodwin came just two assists and one rebound away from recording a triple-double.
Up next, FGCU will travel to Wichita State to face off against the Shockers on Friday at 7.p.m.Wichita State was ranked as high as #6 in the country at one point this season and currently l sit just outside the top-ten at #11.