Fort Myers, FL- The FGCU Men’s Basketball team went into the Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Classic looking to add some marquee wins against three mid major teams at Alico Arena this past holiday weekend. University of North Dakota, Campbell University, and Georgia Southern University made their way to Southwest Florida and we were hoping for at least a 2-1 record which would result in #dunkcity traveling to the East Coast with some confidence against a solid veteran laden FIU team.
The squad looked lethargic and exhausted in this three game stretch and should have won all three of these games. They were in every game and had double digit leads against UND (15) and Georgia Southern (11).
UND 78 FGCU 63
Eagles shot 39% from the field, 31% from 3, were outrebounded 41-26 and FGCU committed 13 turnovers. FGCU had a 15 point lead at one point in this game and they let it get away from them and played uninspired basketball when it really counted. Zach Scott led FGCU in scoring, contributing 17 points, while playing 32 minutes. UND was led in scoring by Kienan Walter and De’Sean Allen-Eikens who both scored 18 points.
CU 51 FGCU 46
Eagles shot 21% from the field, 12% from 3, outrebounded Campbell 40-34, and committed 16 team turnovers. This was a super winnable game that the Eagles let slip away from them. Terrible shooting from both the field and behind the 3 point line resulting in another game where the Eagles scored less than 50 points. Malik Hardy led FGCU in scoring with 13 points and 12 rebounds resulting in a double double. Campbell was led in scoring by Cedric Henderson Jr and Trey Spencer who both scored 10 points. We feel that Malik’s physical game pairs well with his height and these factors could turn him into a double double machine. Hardy contributing like this will only help Rainwater since the team lacks the necessary front count scoring with Brian Thomas still sidelined. FGCU has lost too many close games and the key to winning more games is winning the rebounding battle and as J. Webb says, “Sugar the Bigs.”
GSU 72 FGCU 57
Eagles shot 36% from the field, 27% from 3, and were outrebounded 39-34. They committed 21 team turnovers and lost another game where they limped into halftime up five points. Georgia Southern only had 7 scholarship players active this game due to injury and were led in scoring by Ike Smith (16 points) and Elijah McCadden (16 points). McCadden threw down a nasty dunk and posterized Justus Rainwater to put an exclamation mark on a come from behind win for Georgia Southern. It was super frustrating to see Jalen Warren disappear scoring wise again and Zach and Caleb both in single figures. The key to this team winning these close games is double figure scoring from the guards and “leaders” of this team Caleb and Zach. The offense being run by Coach Fly right now is not good enough for the Eagles to win many games this season.
0-3 in the Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Classic. They did lose all of their games in the Gulf Coast Showcase last season but we thought this year would be much different. Dakota Rivers pretty much faded away scoring 4 points in 3 games. He is a freshman though and has shown flashes of brilliance this season, so not thinking too much into this and he will come back on strong soon enough. Malik Hardy played his first few games at FGCU and played some strong games. Having an extra body in this lineup to add to the rotation will only help over time. Trying to figure out Tracy Hector Jr’s role on this team is still a mystery and so are roles on this team for certain players. The Eagles are 2-8 heading into a stretch of games this week on the road vs FIU and at home against Robert Morris. A split this week would be ideal heading into the exam break portion in the schedule.