Eagles ready for pivotal game against A-Sun leader Mercer
As the season rolls on, so does Florida Gulf Coast University’s men’s basketball team. Just four games remain this season and the Eagles are in position to claim the regular-season conference championship.
This Friday, FGCU will play in the biggest regular season game in this school’s history. The Eagles will face Mercer University, one of just three conference teams to beat FGCU this season.
Mercer is 21-6 overall this season and 12-2 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The last time these two teams faced ended in a 13-point win for Mercer in their arena, where they are 14-0 this season. FGCU’s home record is 11-1 this year and the Eagles plan to use that to their advantage in the upcoming game on Friday. A win for the green and blue would put them in a tie for first place with three games to go against teams they have beaten earlier this year.
On Sunday, the Eagles will take on Kennesaw State University. This team gave them no trouble earlier in the year as FGCU won in commanding fashion, 83-62.
Last Thursday, FGCU had its four game win streak snapped by a deep-shooting East Tennessee State University team. The Eagles were stumped early, allowing eight 3-pointers in the first 11 minutes of the game. ETSU won by eight points, 89-81.
FGCU tried to get back in the game, getting within four points on multiple occasions, but didn’t have enough in the tank to overcome ETSU that night.
Bernard Thompson dropped 23 points on the night to go with a season-high-tying 7 rebounds. Filip Cvjeticanin returned after being suspended for three games due to a violation of team rules and netted 12 points on four three pointers
In a must-win game for the Eagles just two days later, FGCU came out with the win over USC-Upstate, 84-80. A dominant second half for FGCU was exactly what they needed to bring them within a half-game of first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Dunk City began the game with a spark from the offense, going on a 12-0 run in the opening minutes. Upstate was able to fight back, however, ending the first half of play with the lead, 41-38. The Eagles took the lead early in the second half and never looked back.
FGCU saw strong play out of its usual top performers Thompson and Chase Fieler. Thompson scored 24 points, 18 in the second half, in a game that marked his career-high in Atlantic Sun play. He knocked four 3-pointers to go with his impressive 8-for-9 tally from the free-throw line. Fieler came out with 17 points in a good shooting performance, going 7-for-8 from the field.
Coach Joe Dooley explained the team’s preparation after dropping the game to ETSU. “We talked about bouncing back and doing the things we needed to fundamentally in order to win the game. For the most part, Upstate did a good job of battling back a couple times and even controlling the game at certain points, but our guys found a way to get the job done.”
Dunk City prepares for the final two home games of the regular season this weekend. Make sure to come support the Eagles as they play in the biggest game of the year against Mercer at 6 p.m. Friday, and wear white. They will take on Kennesaw State on Sunday at 1:33 p.m. and the game is a blueout.