It took a late 11-0 run for the FGCU men’s basketball team to beat Division II Florida Tech on Sunday, 62-54 in their final tune-up game before Atlantic Sun conference play begins on Saturday with Stetson.
What on the surface looked to be an easy game for the Eagles to work out the kinks before the conference season starts instead turned out to be a fight to the finish, as FGCU found themselves trailing, 46-44 with 6:55 left to play after a three from Richard Coil, capping off an 11-0 run from Florida Tech which saw the Eagles held scoreless for nearly six minutes.
But the Eagles(9-8) responded with an 11-0 run of their own, started by a Michael Gilmore dunk, and ending with a three-point play from Christian Terrell with 5:02 to go, giving the Eagles a 55-46 lead.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to figure it out very quickly,” Eagles coach Joe Dooley said. “The good thing is you control your own destiny, but we’ve got to figure out a couple of these recurring themes.”
Florida Tech(6-7) was in the game late despite shooting just 29.5 percent from the field, thanks to a 17-6 advantage on the offensive glass. Those rebounds led to a 16-4 advantage for the Panthers in second chance points. Another 15 of Florida Tech’s points came from 12 FGCU turnovers, second chance points and turnovers have been ongoing problems this season for the Eagles. Coil led the Panthers with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Dinero Mercurius led the Eagles off the bench with 15 points, while Terrell, also off the bench, had 10 points. Brandon Goodwin had a double-double, 13 points and 11 assists.
WOMEN NO STRUGGLE WITH FLORIDA MEMORIAL
A day earlier, the FGCU women’s basketball team faced no such struggles in their final non-conference game against NAIA Florida Memorial on Saturday.
The Eagles(14-3) led 23-6 after the first period, and held the Lions without a field goal for the first 14 minutes of the game en route to an 82-43 win.
Jessica Cattani had 23 points to lead the Eagles, including five threes, going 9-of-11 from the field. Erica Nelson scored 16 points. Ashley Henry led Florida Memorial(8-5) with 13 points.
FGCU led 40-13 at halftime before many of the reserves began to check into the game. The Eagles have spent most of the game using a seven or eight player rotation, but were able to give extended looks to some of their bench. Sophomore Chandler Ryan played 18 minutes, while walk-on Alyssa Blair played 22 minutes in the game.
Both the men’s and women’s programs will kick off ASUN play against Stetson on Saturday in a doubleheader. The women’s game, a rematch of last year’s ASUN tournament final, tips off at 4 p.m., while the men’s game will follow at 7 p.m.
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