After a long break, FGCU fell to 2-11 with a loss to South Dakota State. Freshman Jalen Harper received his first start of the season. The Eagles won the tip and quickly hit a 3 (Tracy Hector). The Jackrabbits then went on a 22-0 run. The run was aided by questionable officiating, hot shooting for South Dakota State, and noticeable rust for FGCU. The Eagles found a little bit of a rhythm and closed the first half on a 9-0 run but still trailing 42-26. The Eagles continued to play better in the second half but could not overcome the 22-3 run that started the game. Below we will highlight the good and the bad as well what’s next for FGCU.
Rainwater was largely absent in the first half due to early foul trouble. In the second half, he made his presence known, scoring all 12 of his points. Rainwater also finished with 7 rebounds while playing only 17 minutes in the game. With a healthy Brian Thomas, this could be a glimpse of the type of explosive player Rainwater could be in limited minutes.
Catto was the most consistent Eagle in the game. He paced the Eagles with 13 points on 3/6 shooting from deep. He also added 3 rebounds and 2 assists while playing 30 minutes.
Largie has received more minutes this season than probably most have expected. Against South Dakota State, he played a season high 23 minutes, scoring 9 points, and adding 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
Thomas surprised fans by checking in early in the 1st half. He has not played since the first game of the season against Saint Louis. It was great to see Thomas back, though he only played 12 minutes. He finished the night with 2 points, 2 rebounds, a steal, and a block. Even with limited production, having Thomas available now to try and get in game shape prior to conference play could prove very useful.
For one of the few times this season, FGCU was able to limit their turnovers. By the conclusion of the game, the Eagles won the battle 13-15. Unfortunately, FGCU was unable to take advantage of a relatively clean game.
Other than Rainwater’s 7 rebound performance, FGCU struggled to clean the glass. They finished with only 27 rebounds compared to 40 for the Jackrabbits. Several times the Eagles couldn’t buy a rebound, leading to 2nd and 3rd chance opportunities for South Dakota State.
FGCU will host 6-2 St. Thomas University (NAIA) on Saturday 12/21. The Eagles will look to finally get back on the right track and end a 6 game losing streak at home against a lesser opponent.