FGCU (0-4) lost a tough one to Mercer (3-1) last night (11/15). The Eagles scored the first 2 points of the contest on a pair of Caleb Catto free throws. Mercer would then score the next 17 points and never look back. The Bears were led by senior guards Ethan Stair and Djordje Dimitrijevic, both of whom the Eagles had no answer for. Stair finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Dimitrijevic added a game high 19 point to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Mercer was also helped by promising freshman, James Glisson III who had his way, down low, for much of the game. He finished with 18 points and 3 assists. Lastly, Daniel Love gave the Eagles fits as he played his way to 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.
FGCU is now 0-4 and is yet to put together 2 solid halves. This came to a crescendo last night when the Eagles looked completely lost for the opening 10 minutes. The poor shooting that has plagued FGCU for the past couple of games continued through the first half. For Zach Scott and Sam Gagliardi, the metaphorical lid was tightly sealed over the basket for most of the night.
Rebounding has been a problem area for the Eagles thus far. Again they find themselves having been outworked on the glass, this time 35-25. FGCU misses Brian Thomas greatly right now as he would surely provide experience and solid defense at a minimum. Being without a preseason DPOY candidate is proving to be very difficult for the Eagles the cope with. Justus Rainwater is a good rebounder but is undisciplined at times. Rivers is a work in progress as he perfects his technique but continues to impress. Both players have to continue to get better in this area. A lack of team rebounding is also something that is hurting the team. The team actually looked better in 50-50 ball situations this game. However, losing the rebounding battle by 10 is not a sign of progress.
Freshmen Jalen Harper, Qwanzi Samuels, and Dakota Rivers have all visibly gotten better each game, though each at different rates. Rivers, in particular, played only 16 minutes but made his presence known. He scored 11 points, hauled in 4 rebounds and dished out 2 assists. He also provided fantastic effort on the defensive end with 2 steals, 2 clutch blocks, and improved post play. Harper looks to be increasing his ability to run the point. He scored 4 points and added 4 quality assists, a steal, and a block.
Sam Gagliardi had his best game of the season. After missing his first four 3-point attempts, he came alive in the second half by hitting 4 of them to finish with 12 points on the night. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come from Gagliardi.
Zach Scott struggled in the first half from the floor. He found a way to hit a couple 3s in the second half and racked up 4 steals in the process. Scott finished the night with a team high 18 points. He continues to be a leader on offense and will look to build off of his strong finish.
Caleb Catto had a somewhat quiet night but still played with confidence. He finished with 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. He and Scott were both perfect from the line as well, going a combined 9-9.
FGCU heads back to the Nest on Wednesday, 11/20/19, for their second home game of the season to take on FAU. The Owls are yet to win a game against a D-I team. In D-I games, they have been outmatched and outclassed. Different from other teams the Eagles have faced so far this year, the Owls find their strength in their forwards more so than their guards.
Stay tuned for a preview of our next game and stick with us as we ride out this rough start to the season.