It’s been an ugly week for the FGCU men’s basketball team.
Playing in a nearly-empty Hertz Arena in the seventh-place game of the Gulf Coast Showcase – that is, the game for teams that haven’t won yet – the Eagles were once again handled by their opponent. This time, a previously winless on the season UTSA used a 19-4 run early in the second half to pull away from the Eagles, 76-65 on Sunday.
“I thought we did a good job coming out with good energy in the first half. When they went on that run, we didn’t hit back very well, and I don’t think we responded,” FGCU coach Michael Fly said.
Defense was once again a problem for the Eagles(2-5), as UTSA hit 55 percent of their shots in the second half. As was rebounding, the Roadrunners outrebounded the Eagles 41-31, including 11-7 on the offensive glass. The deficit was entirely in the second half, where UTSA had 21 rebounds to FGCU’s 10. Yes, 10.
But in addition to those problems, ones that Fly has harped on all week, they also just couldn’t score. FGCU shot 39 percent from the field, including just 8-of-22 in the second half. Shot after shot went into the side of the rim, three-pointers fell off target, and long rebounds led to easy buckets for the Roadrunners on the other end as the lead grew and grew, eventually to as many as 17.
“I’ll take the blame because my message isn’t getting through from a defense and rebounding standpoint,” Fly said. “We’re going to go back to the building blocks when we get back to practice and get this thing right.”
It was clear heading into the season that this team would be a work in progress, what wasn’t clear was just how far they have to go. Granted they aren’t at full strength, Raysean Scott and Brian Thomas are due back any day now. Scott even dressed and warmed up in pregame, but didn’t play, and Fly admits the return of those two players will not be a “cure-all.”
Still, what is?
“We’re just trying to come together and not look for excuses. Yes, we’re missing some guys, but everybody in the country is missing guys,” Fly said.
“I don’t know if guys think minutes are guaranteed, or wins are guaranteed. We’ve talked about how those four letters (FGCU) mean a lot of me, and they need to mean a lot to everybody in that locker room.”
Jhivvan Jackson scored 21 points, including a person eight-point stretch that put UTSA ahead by double-digits for the first time, while Keaton Wallace added 19 points, along with a pair of threes to start the second half barrage.
Christian Carlyle scored 16 to lead the Eagles, but half of those points came from the free throw line.
HERTZ HOUSE OF HORRORS
Hertz Arena, previously known as Germain Arena, has not been kind to FGCU basketball – men’s or women’s.
The men’s program has now played eight games in their history and the building and has gone 3-5 in those games, including the first basketball game in program history on Nov. 22, 2002 against Puerto Rico-Bayamon.
The last win by either program was on Nov. 25, 2014 against San Francisco, a 62-47 win. Since then, the men have lost their last four games here, and the women’s team went 0-3 at the 2016 Gulf Coast Showcase.
At FAU, Sunday
Colgate, December 2
At Oral Roberts, December 5
At UMBC, December 16
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