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Men’s Basketball Completes Comeback Against Austin Peay

Men%E2%80%99s+Basketball+Completes+Comeback+Against+Austin+Peay
Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics

To end their three game homestand, FGCU men’s basketball faced off against the 10-11 Austin Peay Governors on Jan. 27. The Eagles entered this game with an 8-13 record after a brutal 98-72 loss against the now 13-9 Lipscomb Bisons. FGCU rebounded from this loss with a 73-67 victory against the Governors.

Austin Peay entered this contest boasting the ASUN’s top defense in points allowed and the fewest turnovers throughout the first weeks of play. The Eagles would need to make a change to counter this pressure as they turned the ball 11 times on Thursday night.

Freshman guard Rahmir Barno was the addition the Eagles needed as he returned to the court after being out the last few weeks with a concussion, according to head coach Pat Chambers postgame. He put up nine points, three assists and three steals over the course of the game.

Tipoff began with neither team able to put points on the scoreboard through the first two minutes of play. Austin Peay scored the game’s first points off a jumper, which allowed the Governors to grab an early lead.

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This lead grew immensely throughout the first half as Austin Peay was up 25-12 with their largest lead of the game by 13 points. FGCU did not allow the Governors’ lead to grow larger than ten points for the rest of the game.

FGCU went on a run by scoring 12 of the game’s next 16 points. All of these shots were around the 3-point line with senior guard Isaiah Thompson scoring half of them.

The Governors extended their advantage to seven points to end the first half with a 36-29 lead. Austin Peay’s shooting was a crucial reason why they held the lead. They shot 51.9% from the field and 57.1% from the 3-point line. This was in comparison to the Eagles shooting 39.3% and 36.4% in each respective category.

Along with their shooting, the Eagles had been struggling with turnovers over the last few weeks. FGCU had 15 turnovers over the course of their game against Austin Peay. What countered these turnovers for the Eagles was their ability to secure rebounds. FGCU had 19 rebounds by the end of the first half.

Junior guard Dallion Johnson opened the second half by putting points on the board for the Eagles. This was followed by two foul shots and a 3-pointer by Thompson, closing the lead to two points. This lead fluctuated throughout the next ten minutes. The Eagles were able to tighten the score but never take the lead as turnovers or missed shots continued to set them back.

This finally changed after a foul sent senior guard Cyrus Largie airborne for the second time tonight. Largie rallied after this foul, scoring the next five points to give the Eagles a 57-55 lead, their first of the night.

Soon after the Eagles took the lead they could not be stopped as the momentum was on their side. FGCU ended the game by scoring 16 of the last 28 points in tow to a 73-67 victory. Coach Chambers provided input on how they kept motivation after a tough loss to Lipscomb and being down early against Austin Peay.

“It was collective, right. It was all of us. Our huddles were unbelievable. We just talked about keeping a great attitude. And we didn’t, I didn’t do a good job Thursday doing that,” Chambers said. “I needed to keep a great attitude. They would keep a great attitude. I think collectively, we understood that, and that’s what we did.”

Thompson was the leading scorer for the Eagles, collecting 21 points throughout the night. He discussed what he thought about his performance.

“I just thought I’d played with passion. Like that’s what I’ve been kind of hard on myself about, just playing with more emotion and playing harder,” Thompson said. “Obviously, like look, coach Chambers said playing like a fifth-year senior, and it’s not all about scoring the ball. Like that’s gonna come with just how the game flows, but I just really want to just focus on playing with emotion and playing with passion is just being a senior guard.”

FGCU exits their three game homestand with a 9-13 record and a 3-4 record in ASUN conference play. The Eagles will be on the road for three games against Central Arkansas, North Alabama and Eastern Kentucky before they return home on Feb. 10 to play the Bellarmine Knights.

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About the Contributor
Jeffrey Hrunka, Assistant Sports Editor
Jeffrey Hrunka is a junior double majoring in communications and journalism with a concentration in public relations. Jeffrey is from Fort Myers where his interest in sports journalism originated after falling in love with the world of motorsports. When he’s not working for Eagle News, he is usually spending time with friends, watching the New York Giants lose, or chilling in the pool.

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