Fort Myers, FL- As FGCU heads into their ASUN Conference portion of their schedule, let’s take a look back at those seven games and talk about what we have seen. We will also talk about the eight other teams in the conference and catch up with them too.
FGCU finished the non conference schedule 5-2 overall. Of those seven games, two have been non D-1 games which resulted in wins: FNU (91-74), Webber International (112-39). The losses included a tough road loss to USF (76-57) and a bad loss at home to FIU (85-69) where the Eagles were outplayed in every facet of the game. The tough thing about the FIU loss was that FGCU had just beaten the University of Miami (66-62) on the road a few days prior, but we had called for a possible let down game on the podcast. We know Miami was only down to six scholarship athletes, though it was a huge momentum shift so we thought with the victory we would see the Eagles go on a roll and beat FIU at home four days later.
The emergence of Cyrus Largie this year has been massive for this team. Largie is constantly finishing in double figures in scoring for the Eagles and is averaging 12.0 ppg through the seven game non-conference schedule. We knew that Caleb Catto would be counted on as a Junior and is the leading scorer averaging 15.1 ppg. We have wanted Caleb to take over games and take the big shot when needed and the scoring has definitely been there this season.
SR Jalen Warren has had a nice season averaging 11.5 ppg in six games but has the tendency to get wild with the ball and garner the wrong attention when it comes to earning technical fouls and more. Dakota Rivers came into camp looking swole after putting on 10+ lbs of muscle and after having a great chat with him this offseason, he has been great from beyond the arc for this team. He is the 4th leading scorer and is averaging 8.0 ppg while shooting 37% from beyond the arc (10/27). Rivers is joined by Eli Abaev in the frontcourt and Eli has been a force on the glass, averaging 8.6 rebounds per game for FGCU.
THE REST OF THE ASUN :
Liberty has been the most impressive team so far with wins vs Mississippi State (84-73) as part of the Space Coast Challenge, and South Carolina (78-62) as part of the Hall of Fame Classic. Liberty is led in scoring by Darius McGhee (14.5 ppg), Elijah Cuffee (11.0 ppg), and Chris Parker (9.1 ppg). Liberty opens up ASUN play on the road vs Lipscomb.
The Bisons have struggled in the non-conference portion of their schedule with D1 opponents, since they only have beaten non D-1 teams, besides SE Missouri St and Lamar who both are ranked 300+. The Bisons also lost to SE Missouri St this season on the road. Lipscomb is led by KJ Johnson who is averaging 13.5 ppg in 4 games played. Romaeo Ferguson has chipped in 12.3 ppg in 10 games, and ASUN Preseason Player of the Year Ahsan Asadullah is averaging 11.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg in 10 games played. Lipscomb opens up ASUN play at home vs Liberty.
Stetson opened the season losing at home to non D-1 Emmanuel University (64-61) and has struggled. Their lone D-1 win came at home vs FAU (78-69). They are led by last year’s ASUN Freshman of the Year Rob Perry who is averaging 14.2 ppg. Chase Johnston is right behind Perry averaging 13.5 ppg. The Hatters open up ASUN play at home vs UNF.
The Dolphins have played some inspiring basketball at times and struggled mightily also. They only lost by single digits to Miami (73-64), but were dominated by Kansas State (70-46) and Georgia (98-65). Tony Jasick could possibly be coaching for his job so this is a big season for JU. The Dolphins are led by Dontarius Wood (16.9 ppg), Diante Wood (12.4 ppg), and Tyrese Davis (11.3 ppg). JU opens up ASUN play vs KSU on the road.
UNA heads into the ASUN Conference portion of the schedule with no D-1 wins. They are led by Mervin James (16.6 ppg), Emmanuel Littles (12.4 ppg), and Jamari Blackmon (11.8 ppg). UNA opens up ASUN play on the road vs FGCU.
The Knights began their first year in D-1 with tough games on the road vs Duke and Notre Dame. Their lone win this season came against Howard University (84-63), and it was their first D-1 win in Knights history. Bellarmine is led by Dylan Penn (15.8 ppg), and Pedro Bradshaw (14.0 ppg). We had a great conversation with Head Coach Scott Davenport before the season and look forward to seeing them play FGCU at home in January. Bellarmine opens up ASUN play at home vs Lipscomb on 1/8.
KENNESAW STATE (3-5):
Kennesaw State has a completely retooled roster this season and it’s a super young team. The Owls have no wins over D-1 opponents this season. Spencer Rodgers (16.5 ppg), Chris Youngblood (14.3 ppg), and Brandon Stroud (6.8 ppg) lead the Owls in scoring. KSU opens up ASUN play at home vs JU.
NORTH FLORIDA (2-8):
UNF has struggled the most of the ASUN conference teams. Coach Driscoll always schedules a grueling non-conference schedule, and this season includes games on the road vs Miami, and FSU. The Ospreys lone D-1 win came at home vs FIU. UNF is led by Carter Hendricksen (17.3 ppg), Jose Placer (12.8 ppg), and Emmanuel Adedoyin (10.1 ppg). UNF begins ASUN play on the road vs Stetson.