FGCU entered the game just one day after laying an egg against North Dakota. Campbell had sustained a 10 point loss the night prior as well, so both teams were looking for their first tournament win. The game started in typical fashion with Rainwater winning the tip-off (8-0 on the year). He then picked up where he left off by getting the first two points of the night. The beginning of the game started off well with good defense, rebounding, and a couple of 3s from Jalen Warren and Zach Scott. Campbell then got into a good defensive rhythm which led to some offense. Malik Hardy and Justus Rainwater carried the team to a 26-25 halftime lead. Despite the lead, the Eagles were shooting at a very low percentage.
Both squads struggled to heat up early in the 2nd half. Despite good defense from both teams, the Fighting Camels scored the first 6 points to go up by 5. The game was kept close by the efforts of Rainwater and Hardy, but ultimately, an abysmal shooting percentage was more than the Eagles could overcome. The contest ended with Campbell taking a 51-46 victory. Below we will highlight some of the good and the bad from last night, while lightly previewing today’s action.
Hardy has impressed in the minimal amount of time he has been available. He looks to be a thick, strong, and quick individual who adds an element of toughness to the team. On the defensive end, he can play the ball very well and has a penchant for racking up steals. On offense, he is clearly the best downhill, driving player and almost (dare I say) Zach Johnson-esque. Against Campbell, he finished with 13 points and an impressive 12 rebounds.
Rainwater has been one of the most valuable Eagles in the tournament thus far. One night after providing unexpected offensive production, he was again a source of physicality and consistency. He finished the night with with 9 points and 7 rebounds, while adding a steal and a block. Throughout the tournament, Rainwater has been matched up against the opposing team’s best big and has limited their production while on the floor.
FGCU has always struggled to get a high percentage at the line. Among this crop of players, there are several individuals who are looking to buck that trend. Malik Hardy, Zach Scott, and Jalen Warren combined to go 16/17 (94%) from the charity stripe. As a team, the Eagles shot 19/22 (86%). This impressive percentage is the main stat that kept FGCU in the game.
While the free throw percentage was impressive, the same cannot be said for the shooting percentage. The Eagles went 12/55 (22%) from the field and 3/25 (12%) from downtown. In the first half, it looked like the Eagles were getting good shots off but they just weren’t falling. This continued into the beginning of the 2nd half, but shots became desperate by the end of the game.
In the first game, against North Dakota, many Eagles were banged up. FGCU was fortunate enough to get out of the game with minimal injury concerns. Against Campbell, the team was without their only senior, Tracy Hector Jr. This leaves the Eagle very shorthanded, with only 3 forwards on the roster. With an abundance of guards, FGCU is somewhat equipped for small ball lineups. Against a bigger team though, the Eagles could be unable to physically match up.
To close out the tournament, FGCU will be facing off against Georgia Southern. The Georgia Southern Eagles are 1-1 in the tournament thus far with a loss to North Dakota and a win over Campbell. For an in-depth look at our matchup, check out the link below.