Looking for their third consecutive ASUN Championship, the Eagles are one win away from clinching an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The only team in the way are the Bisons from Lipscomb, who FGCU will face on Sunday at 3 P.M. on ESPN.
“These guys have been in some situations and know what to expect,” head coach Joe Dooley said. “Our fans have been through it. It’s not a novel idea. It’s not a new thing. I think that helps in the preparation of things. Guys are going to be amped up, a little nervous and that’s part of it.”
These two teams split their head-to-head meetings in the regular season with each team winning on the other team’s floor. FGCU trailed by as many as 18 at Lipscomb and rallied to go on an incredible 33-4 run to pull out an 88-83 win on the road.
The game at Alico Arena was quite similar, as the Eagles trailed by as many as fifteen and were able to tie it up later but were unable to earn the win in a game that had no bearing on the ASUN standings after FGCU clinched the top seed in 11 games.
“They’re a great team, a great program,” Johnson said. “They have a great record so we just want to approach every game the same. We don’t want to overthink it, underthink it. We’re going to prepare every game like we have been doing for every game and play our game.”
Both teams had quite similar journeys to the finals as the Eagles beat USC Upstate and UNF by a combined 45 points. FGCU set a program record with 96 points in the quarter finals of the ASUN Tournament and finished one point shy on Thursday with 95. In the two games, the Eagles went 24-44 from the three-point range in the two games as well as shooting 57 percent from the field.
The Bisons has huge leads on both their games versus Stetson and Jacksonville, but each team rallied a bit late to cut the deficit to a more reasonable margin. They defeated the Hatters by 16 and the Dolphins by 15.
The ASUN’s leading scorer and member of the ASUN First Team, Garrison Mathews, has scored 52 points in the tournament. Their biggest strength so far this postseason has been their defense. They have yet to give up 75 points in a game and have held their opponents to under 44 percent in both games.
“I think the main thing is going to be coming out with a lot of energy,” Goodwin said. “At this point in the season, we understand what the stakes are and just own the moment like Coach has been telling us all season.”
Should the Eagles win, they will have a week off before finding out where they will be headed in the NCAA Tournament. This also will not be the last game since FGCU will at least play in the NIT from winning the ASUN regular season but know they must take it one game at a time.