Eagles end season with loss to NJIT in quarterfinals
By Jake Henning
The FGCU men’s basketball team dropped its ASUN Quarterfinal game to No.5 seed NJIT on Monday night, with a score of 83-78. This loss broke a seven-game home win streak at Alico Arena.
Senior Dinero Mercurius led FGCU in scoring with 27 points, going 5-10 from three-point range. This was his first game this season with over 20 points. Troy Baxter added 15, while true freshman Caleb Catto added 11.
“I think that they were just better than us tonight,” men’s basketball head coach Michael Fly said. “We tried to do different things; we tried zone, we tried man, we tried different things offensively. They came out a little more aggressive and I thought they were just better than us overall tonight.”
NJIT got out to an early lead, outscoring the Eagles 23-7 only 10 mins into the game. FGCU then went on an 26-15 run to close out the first half.
With two seconds left on the clock before halftime, senior guard Schadrac Casimir sank a 3-pointer from the left wing to cut the NJIT lead to 38-33.
In the second half, NJIT once again got out to a big lead, up by 20 points with around 8 minutes left. The Eagles, for the second time, made a run and came within five nearing 30 seconds left.
NJIT’s guards controlled most of the game, with Zach Cooks scoring 25 points and Diandre Wilson scoring 26 points, going 9-10 from the free throw line.
FGCU shot 49 percent from the field and 45 percent from the 3-point line, while NJIT’s field goal percentage was 54 and shot 58 percent from the 3-point line.
When asked how he thought this FGCU team contributed to the history of the program, Mercurius said, “Every team in America goes through adversity, so, for us, it was a lot more than expected. At the same time, we learned from it and grew as men, on and off the court.”
This game ends the campaign for sharpshooting seniors, Dinero Mercurius, Schadrac Casimir, Dolan Mahoney and Ricky Doyle.