Last second bucket hands FGCU men’s basketball first loss in ASUN play
(Filmed and edited by Shylah Soares)
Opening up ASUN play with three straight wins on the road, the FGCU men’s basketball team’s first home game of 2017 was spoiled by a game-winner at the hands of Michael Buchanan as the Eagles fell 62-60.
“You obviously have to compliment Upstate on their effort,” FGCU head coach Joe Dooley said. “Got to give them a lot of credit, they made plays when they had to and we made some plays to keep ourselves in the game and we also dug ourselves in a hole we couldn’t get out.”
Overcoming an eight-point lead behind a three pointer from Christian Terrell and lay-ins by Demetris Morant and Zach Johnson to tie the game at 54, the Eagles took a two-point lead after Johnson knocked down a layup, stole the ensuing lay-in and drew the foul, but the Spartans quickly responded with a three of their own to retake the lead.
With less than one minute remaining, down 60-58, FGCU got the stop they needed on defense as Zach Johnson drew a trip to the line with 17.6 seconds remaining on the clock. Johnson knocked both free throws to tie the game at 60.
The Eagles once again got the key stop they needed on defense, but Buchanan snatched the offensive board, spun past two Eagles defenders and floated in the game-winning bucket, leaving three seconds on the clock. With no timeouts, FGCU inbounded the ball to Johnson, but, with time against him, Johnson was force to heave up a half-court effort that hit missed the basket as the Eagles lost their first game in ASUN play.
“I thought for the most part Trey (Antravious Simmons) and Meech (Demetris Morant) did a good job keeping him (Buchanan) away but he spun back, got the shot and you know it’s tough and he’s a really good player so obviously it was disappointing,” Dooley said.
The Eagles quickly found their rhythm on offense, knocking down high percentage shots in the paint. In a battle of big men between 6-9 Antravious Simmons and 7-0 Buchanan, Simmons scored and was able to get going early in the post, scoring seven of his 11 points in the first half.
After falling behind 28-16 with six minutes remaining in the first half, the Spartans threw all of their bodies in the paint to limit FGCU’s points in the paint and turned defense into offense, sparking a 16-2 run to go into the half up 32-30.
Opening up the half with three straight buckets, the Eagles defense was not up to par, allowing multiple open corner threes, allowing USC Upstate to pad its lead.
Finding a rhythm on offense while enjoying a strong shooting percentage from long-range, the Spartans shot 54.5 percent from behind the arc in the second half, sparking an 18-2 run and propelling them to a 50-39 lead with 12 minutes remaining.
Clawing back as they have done in their first three conference games, the Eagles sparked an 8-0 run to take a 56-54 lead, but the Spartans quickly responded and held on to the lead to earn their third ASUN victory of the season.
In the final game of a quick two-game home stand, the Eagles will face NJIT on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Alico Arena at 7 p.m.
“They’re a good three point shooting team just like many teams in our league,” Johnson said. “We just gotta [sic] come ready to play and not take anybody for granted and we just gotta [sic] approach the game the same way we do any other game.”