The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team narrowly got by the 9-19 Kennesaw State University Owls 54-53 tonight at Alico Arena despite its third lowest shooting percentage of the year, 34.5 percent.
“I’d like to give Kennesaw credit for making that a great game,” FGCU men’s basketball head coach Joe Dooley said. “We were really fortunate to make plays down the end.
FGCU is now 20-7 on the season and 10-1 in Atlantic Sun Conference play.
The Eagles were lead by senior Brett Comer scoring 16 points and adding six rebounds and three assists against Kennesaw’s zone defense.
“Every win is a good win because we won, but we were ugly and didn’t really play well at all,” Comer said. “We found a way to win and that’s all that really matters for me.”
The Eagles did play well in two areas by only committing a season-low five turnovers and grabbing a season-high 20 offensive rebounds. Despite those high points, FGCU trailed for the most part of the game behind an abysmal performance from 3-pt territory going 2-24 (4-42 for the year against the Owls) with Bernard Thompson and Julian DeBose scoring the only three’s.
“Tonight, we didn’t really have any great movement within the zone and we didn’t really knock down too many shots missing a lot of wide open shots we usually make,” Comer said.
At the half, Kennesaw led 31-23 but the Eagles stormed back to relinquish the 8-point deficit in the second half shooting 44.4 percent in the second half to the Owls 34.6.
The Owls began to panic in the second half due to the sellout Alico Arena crowd and FGCU pressure that forced six key turnovers.
“It was a great crowd,” Dooley said. “ I don’t think fans realize how much of an impact they can make on a game. Our fans were terrific and the noise with them getting into it, they can change games. I’ve seen it happen a bunch of times and I think our fans really gave our guys a lift and got behind them when we really needed some stops.
FGCU stays at home to play USC Upstate at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Alico Arena. Coach Dooley will be going for his 100th career win as a head coach and you can watch the game on ESPN3. The Eagles took down Upstate on the road on Jan. 22, 71-68, but see the challenge ahead with a particular Upstate guard.
“They’ve got the leading scorer in the league in Ty Greene, he can score in a bunch of different ways and you’ve got to guard him the entire possession,” Dooley said.