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FGCU men rebound after blowout road loss

Brett Comer and Julian DeBose celebrate Comer's layup during FGCU's conference game against Jacksonville University Saturday night at Alico Arena.
Brett Comer and Julian DeBose celebrate Comer’s layup during FGCU’s conference game against Jacksonville University Saturday night at Alico Arena. (EN Photo / Kelli Krebs)

The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team continued the roller-coaster ride that is this season, losing at North Florida on Wednesday and beating Jacksonville University at home Saturday.

The sellout crowd at UNF stormed the court when the Ospreys took down the Eagles 80-64.

“We were in a really good position early on, but a combination of them making some shots and us not playing well on defense got them back into the game,” coach Joe Dooley said. “It’s certainly frustrating, and as we continued to miss some pretty open and easy shots we got careless with the ball, and that hurt us.”

The defense wasn’t where it needed to be, as FGCU gave up 80 points and allowed UNF to shoot 50 percent from the field. Brett Comer’s 21 and Bernard Thompson’s 15 weren’t enough to push the Eagles over the top and they fell to 1-1 in the conference.

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On Saturday night at home, however, it was a completely different story as the Eagles notched out a 79-50 victory over JU. The 29-point victory was FGCU’s largest winning margin since beating the Dolphins last year by the same amount.

“It makes it a lot easier when the ball goes in the basket,” Dooley said. “We shot the ball well, obviously, especially from three, and I thought Bernard got us off to a great start.”

It was somewhat of a breakthrough performance for Thompson, who has struggled mightily in recent weeks shooting the ball.

“I feel like I just have to keep myself in the game,” Thompson said. “Can’t make silly fouls or anything like that to take myself out. But I’ve been feeling great so I feel like going on throughout conference play I’ll be very consistent.”

The Eagles moved the ball well on the offensive end, finding rhythm that they have seemed to be lacking most of the year.

“A lot of it is we actually got some stops,” Comer said. “So we were actually able to run, you know. Coach wants us to play fast; it’s just that getting stops is part of playing fast. I think we got some stops and we moved the ball very well tonight.”

Once again, the dynamic senior backcourt duo led the way for the Eagles, with Comer notching 25 points and Thompson close behind with 17. Julian DeBose also added a career high seven assists to go with his nine points, giving FGCU a balanced attack on the offensive end.

FGCU now sits at 2-1 in A-Sun play and its next contest is Thursday, Jan. 22 on the road  in Spartanburg against USC Upstate.

“We’ll have our hands full with their perimeter,” Dooley said of the matchup with the Spartans. “We’ve got some things to work on over the next couple days. They’ve gotten off to a great start and I know [USC Upstate Coach Eddie Payne] will have them ready.”

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