True freshmen shine in men’s basketball triumph over UNA
The FGCU men’s basketball team defeated the University of North Alabama 71-64 on Wednesday night. The team was led by true freshmen Zach Scott, who had a team-high 17 points and Caleb Catto with 11 points.
“I give it all to my teammates,” Scott said of his success. “I get open and they find me. Every week I think I’m getting more used to (the pressure) with the help of my teammates.”
Dinero Mercurius and Schadrac Casimir also saw impressive offensive performances, with 16 and 13, respectively.
As a team, the Eagles outshot the Lions in all offensive aspects, going 23-for-50 (46 percent) in field goals, 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) in 3-pointers, and 15-for-18 (83.3 percent) in free-throws.
Additionally, half of FGCU’s ten 3-pointers came from Scott alone, who went 5-for-6 from behind the 3-point line.
The Lions shot only 37 percent in field goals and 27.6 percent from behind the 3-point line.
While the starters got the ball rolling for the Eagles, the bench saw plenty of action as well and accounted for 31 of FGCU’s points.
The first ten minutes saw plenty of action from both sides, with the score remaining relatively close throughout.
Brian Thomas scored the first points of the game, getting the ball going for the Eagles. Though North Alabama would score a 3-pointer early on, Scott responded with a three of his own to keep the Eagles in the game.
FGCU’s small lead stretched significantly shortly after consecutive field goals from Dinero Mercurius and Catto; with Catto adding an additional three points immediately following a Lions 3-pointer.
With five minutes left in the first half, the Lions managed to climb their way back within two points of a tie game to make the score 26-24 Eagles. This was due in part to strong offense on North Alabama’s side and a weak defensive effort from FGCU.
One field goal was all it took to tie up the game, and neither team was able to advance by halftime to bring the score to 31-31 at the top of the second half.
The second half saw no shortage of offensive action, with the score remaining relatively close throughout the duration of the last 20 minutes.
A 3-pointer by the Lions gave them their first lead since the first minute of the game, but Mercurius and Scott both responded with consecutive 3-pointers as well to bring the lead back to the Eagles.
This seemed to be the turning point for FGCU, who brought both offense and defense from this point forward to keep UNA from regaining its lead. It looked as if the Lions might have a shot at a comeback, but nicely-timed field goals from Catto and Schadrac Casimir were enough to secure a comfortable lead.
The Lions continued to show a valiant effort offensively but failed to get past the defensive skills of RaySean Scott Jr., who blocked what might have been the bucket that kept the Lions in the game.
A pair of free-throws by Catto and Scott Jr. later and the game went to the Eagles for a final score of 71-64.
“I’m really proud of our fighting effort tonight,” said FGCU men’s basketball head coach Michael Fly. “That’s as tough as a team we’ve played against all year. To our guys’ credit, I thought there were a couple times that the game could’ve swung in the wrong direction for us. But I told these guys (Zach, Caleb and Schadrac) I thought it was a total team effort tonight.”
Next, the Eagles will travel to Lynchburg, Virginia to replay Liberty University on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.