Seeking to work themselves out of a prolonged funk ahead of the start of Atlantic Sun conference play next week, the FGCU men’s basketball team had the perfect slump-buster on the schedule in NAIA Florida Memorial.
The Eagles looked sluggish to start, but eventually did finish with an expected score line, pulling away with a 76-42 win on Friday at Alico Arena.
But even in the win, plenty of question marks remain as the all-important conference opener looms just days away: defense, rebounding, turnovers, forward play, what are the solutions to these problems?
“We had a good practice yesterday, and if we keep building on that we will get back to where people think we were, I guess,” Christian Terrell said. “Keep going, keep building, and get better every day.”
In an approximately eight minute stretch, four minutes flanking either side of halftime, the Eagles stretched what was just a 25-19 edge to 55-27. Zach Johnson scored 14 of his 19 points during that span, including four threes.
“He got on a roll and made some shots,” FGCU coach Joe Dooley said. Johnson also finished with five assists. “I thought he made good decisions for the most part, he got to the paint and that showed.”
Against the overmatched Lions – Florida Memorial was held to just 24.1 percent shooting on 14-of-58 from the floor — the Eagles were able to play multiple players for extended looks, as Dooley and his staff try to figure out just what the right combination is to unlock the potential that had many considering this team a surefire NCAA Tournament contender. 11 players played at least 10 minutes on Friday. Typically, that’s a sign of depth – but as Dooley has said a few times this year, that’s not the case with this year’s team.
“We’ve got to find a rotation, we really haven’t had a chance. It’s been a little disorienting, we’ve had several different things but if we can get a rotation it will help our players I think,” Dooley said. “We need to get our defensive identity back.”
Johnson’s 19 led the Eagles, while Brandon Goodwin scored 11 points and Michael Gilmore added 10. Terrell, coming off the bench for the second straight game, had nine points in 21 minutes. Christian Carlyle, who has gotten the start in Terrell’s place, had seven points and four assists on 3-of-7 shooting.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
33 – The Eagles shot a season-high 33 three-point attempts on Friday. The previous season-high was 32 against FIU on Dec. 19.
24.1 – Florida Memorial’s field-goal percentage was the lowest of any FGCU opponent this season. 42 was also a season-best for points allowed.
4 – FGCU shot just four free throws on Friday.
Florida Tech, Sunday
Stetson(ASUN), Jan. 6
© 2017 Lee Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.