FGCU (0-2) heads to heads to New Hampshire to take on the 9th oldest college in the nation, Dartmouth (1-0). The Ivy League school posted a record of 11-19 last season (2-12 in conference). They did, however, play respectably at home last year (8-6). In their first game of the season, the Big Green upset Buffalo by a score of 68-63. In typical early-in-the-year fashion, offense was sloppy, defense was sluggish, and experience overcame talent on their way to victory. Head Coach David McLaughlin was clearly looking to earn the upset, more so than using the game as an opportunity to develop his younger players. The five freshmen on the team combined for only 1 minute of play. They return their top three scorers from last year (4 if not for losing Brendan Barry for the season). They boast veteran leadership with an abundance of experience.
Chris Knight (#23)
Chris Knight was their primary scorer last year (15 points and 7 rebounds) as a sophomore. He looks to be continuing that dominance into his junior season. Knight started the season off hot against Buffalo. He paced Dartmouth with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He is not the biggest forward at 6’7″ / 225 lbs but makes up for it with elite explosiveness and pure strength.
Trevon Ary-Turner (#4)
Trevon Ary-Turner is a 6’3″ / 185 lb guard, playing his first season with the Big Green. He is a transfer from Weber State. His arrival comes at an important time for Dartmouth as they are without their lead scoring guard from last season (Brendan Barry). Turner flashed in their first game with 7 points and 3 assists.
James Foye (#10)
As a junior, James Foye (6’4″ / 195) averaged 11 points per game. He shoots at a very high percentage from the floor and looks to improve for his senior season. He provided a well-rounded performance in their first contest, finishing with 5 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds.
Ian Sistare (#5)
Ian Sistare averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds as a junior. He is part of a crowded senior backcourt with plenty of experience playing together. Sistare stands at 6’3″ / 200 lbs and uses his stocky frame to be an effective rebounding guard. Against Buffalo, he totaled 6 points and a whopping 13 rebounds.
Talent vs Time
There is no doubt that FGCU has a surplus of talent among their guards, especially when compared to Dartmouth. What the Big Green does have is an overwhelming amount of experience among this position group. 2 senior guards and plenty of depth make up their backcourt. Foye and Sistare have played tons of minutes together and that on-court chemistry could be difficult for the Eagles’ young guards to deal with, especially this early in the season. Through the first two games of the season though, there is undoubted chemistry between Zach Scott and Caleb Catto. This chemistry has extended to players like Jalen Warren to form a formidable backcourt of their own. While FGCU has already come a long way in terms of incorporating their newcomers into the rotation, there is still much to improve on.
BIGS on “bigs”
Dartmouth’s star player is the 6’7″ / 225 lb Knight. He plays much bigger than his height might suggest. The Eagles faced a similarly built and skilled player (Hasahn French) in their first game. FGCU will try to minimize Knight’s impact. Outside of him, there is minimal proven talent and size among their forwards. 6’9″ Cam Krystowiak is a freshman that brings them much needed height but his 210 pounds limit his ability to really bang down low with true “bigs”. The heaviest player on their roster is another freshman (Demi Adelekun) who stands at 6’8″ / 230 lbs. This is definitely a matchup that FGCU could look to exploit and see as an opportunity to really get the bigs going for the first time this season. Justus Rainwater should be able to win with his size and explosiveness and is a prime candidate for a breakout performance. Dakota Rivers and Qwanzi Samuels each have an opportunity to use their unique length and athleticism to win their matchups and have success.
Elliott Kresse (2-0)
81 – 71 – FGCU
Russell Kelly (0-2)
74 – 65 – FGCU
Dawson Jordan (1-1)
64 – 62 – FGCU
Bryan Genter (1-1)
70 – 66 – FGCU