The game started off on the right foot. FGCU won the tip-off and has now done so in 7 straight games (Rainwater has won all 7 of his jumps). The Eagles started hot and jumped to a 12-4 lead. At one point, the Eagles led 30-15. Unfortunately, the Fighting Hawks were able to battle back and gain momentum. The 1st half ended with FGCU leading 34-31 with Tracy Hector, Justus Rainwater, and Zach Scott carrying the team. At the start of the 2nd half, North Dakota quickly grabbed the lead and methodically expanded it. With 5 minutes to go, the Fighting Hawks held a 19 point lead. FGCU was able to push the game back to 10 but as the clock ticked down, the effort proved futile. Here we will take a look at the good and the bad from the game as well as what’s next for the Eagles.
Rainwater had maybe his best game of the season. He scored 12 points and was matched up against the other team’s best player (Rebraca) for most of the game. Rainwater made smart decisions while playing physically. He demonstrated nice touch on some of his low post finishes as well. He was also able to add 3 blocks and 3 rebounds on the night.
Zach Scott seems to have worked out his inconsistent shooting problems from early in the season. Against North Dakota, he shot 4-7 from deep and 3-3 from the charity stripe, finishing with 17 points. He was also solid on the defensive end, racking up 6 steals and 4 rebounds.
At the half, North Dakota led the rebounding battle 19-15. After a very discombobulated 2nd half, that margin increased to 41-25. The FGCU bigs were virtually absent on the boards. Justus Rainwater and Dakota Rivers combined for only 3 rebounds. Tracy Hector had four rebounds in the first half but was banged up and blanked in the 2nd. The big rebounding advantage held by the Fighting Hawks, was the main catalyst for the 2nd half collapse.
Tale of Two Halves
For what seems like every game this season, FGCU was unable to put together 2 halves. The latter half against North Dakota was marred by slow defensive rotation and inconsistent offensive communication. The veteran-laden team of Fighting Hawks was able to take advantage of the Eagles’ youth.
FGCU will look to rebound quickly as they take on the Campbell Fighting Camels tonight (11/30) at Alico Arena. For an in-depth preview of each tournament opponent, check out our article in the link below.