FGCU (1-4) gets their long-awaited first win of the season against FAU (2-3) in dramatic fashion. Junior Point Guard, Jalen Warren led the Eagles down the stretch and into overtime, capping the night with a game winning floater that set Alico Arena on fire.
The game started slow for both teams. FAU was first to strike with a 2-point jumper. FGCU responded with a 3 from Sam Gagliardi. This would be the last time they would lead in the game until almost a minute into overtime. The Eagles went into halftime trailing by a score of 29-16.
To begin the 2nd half, FGCU traded blows with FAU. Zach Scott and Caleb Catto hit a couple of 3s and Jalen Warren added a 3-point play of his own to start chipping away at the deficit. The Owls would then go on a 10-0 run in an effort to quell the Eagles’ momentum. This would prove to be in vain. Dakota Rivers, Zach Scott, Caleb Catto, Sam Gagliardi, and Jalen Warren would shine down the stretch and each do their part in sending the game to overtime with a score of 57-57. In overtime, Warren absolutely took the game over. The offense seemed to flow through him seamlessly and efficiently. Warren manned the point and found Rivers and Scott for key shots. Scott hit his shots and found Gagliardi for a clutch 3. FAU had no answer for Warren as the overtime period came to a close. He hit the last 2 shots of the game for the Eagles to secure a much-needed victory.
Warren was the star of the game for the Eagles. After starting the first game of the season, he came off the bench tonight and responded with 21 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Warren showed handles and court vision. He was also a threat when driving to the basket. Best of all, Warren really helped showcase some of what we can expect this offense to look like.
For the 2nd straight game, Rivers has come on strong and provided a boost to the team. Game-by-game he has improved noticeably and his impact has increased. Against FAU, he tallied 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 assist. Rivers did this while being matched up against a player with a significant size advantage, who is also one of FAU’s better players. Coach Michael Fly has stated that despite his improvement, Rivers has not yet scratched the surface of what his potential is.
Gagliardi had a rough start to the season. As a 3-point specialist, you’re expected to make your permimiter shots. In the first few games, this was not the case for Sam. In the last 2 games, he has really caught fire from behind the arc and has looked like the shooter and player he has been advertised as. For this game, he went 3-6 from downtown for a total of 9 points. He also played solid defense, racking up 3 steals and 3 rebounds in the process.
Zach Scott and Caleb Catto
These players often get lumped together, but it is not without good cause. They are both sophomore players with the weight of the team on their shoulders. Even better, they prove, night in and night out, that they are up for the job. Scott finished with a thick stat line of 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. Catto had 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals of his own.
Next FGCU travels to Richmond, VA to take on a very strong VCU team. The Eagles will look to build off of this first win as they face a tough opponent. The game is on Saturday, 11/23. Until then, Wings Up and Go Eagles!