FGCU (1-5) suffered a tough loss at the hands of a top 25, VCU (5-0) team on Saturday. Fresh off their first win, the Eagles were looking to start fast and surprise the Rams early. The game started out very slow and sloppy for both teams. The Eagles played some good defense and forced the Rams into bad shots. Unfortunately, FGCU went into a turnover frenzy, that would last throughout the game, and didn’t get their first shot off until almost 3 minutes into the first half. The Eagles scored their lowest point total of the season, losing 78-48. Here we will go over the bad and the good, as well as what’s next for FGCU.
FGCU has struggled to put two halves together in each game this season. This trend continued as the Eagles only managed 16 first half points, and 32 in the 2nd half. Comparatively, VCU scored 43 in the first half, and 35 in the 2nd. Even with a 1st half that matched the point total of the 2nd, FGCU may not have won the game. However, the game would have been more competitive, with more potential teaching points to be found.
The Eagles have really hurt their chances of winning each game this season by consistently losing the turnover battle. Games have generally come down to a matter of limiting the hole they find themselves in, after the first half, to a small enough margin that can be overcome in the 2nd half. Against VCU, the Eagles had 14 first half turnovers and 13 in the 2nd half, losing the overall battle by 27-8. Typically these turnover-ridden spurts are limited to one half but that was not the case, here. These stretches have to be decreased if the Eagles want to be a consistently competitive team.
Caleb Catto has been the most consistent player for FGCU this season. Against the Rams, he scored 14 points while adding 9 rebounds and 2 assists. He went 4-8 from deep and was really the only reliable force on the team. As Zach Scott struggles to find his shot, Catto seems to be comfortable taking the reigns as the leader.
The FGCU bigs struggled to get their share of the rebounds on a consistent basis. Justus Rainwater finished the game with only 3 of them, while Dakota Rivers did not log any himself. VCU’s Marcus Santos-Silva hauled in 11 boards of his own. In response, the Eagles got a lot help from their guards. Catto and Scott grabbed 9 and 8 rebounds, respectively. Sam Gagliardi added 5 boards as well. While the bigs find consistent footing, it is helpful that the guards on this team excel in this important stat category.
FGCU has played at home in only 2 of these first 6 games of the season. Fortunately, the Eagles will play their next 4 games at Alico Arena, where they have had immense success. Up next, for the squad, is a matchup against D-II, Florida Tech on Tuesday 11/26. FGCU will look to get back in the win column and increase momentum going into the 3 game Thanksgiving tournament where the Eagles will take on North Dakota, Campbell, and Georgia Southern.