FGCU ended a 6 game losing streak with a win against NAIA St. Thomas University. The game started slow for the Eagles as the Bobcats went up 7-0. FGCU did not score their first bucket until almost 3 minutes into the game, on a clutch 3 from Zach Scott. After that, the Eagles never really looked back. They scored 23 straight points to go up 23-7. The first half ended with FGCU leading 52-19.
In the second half, the Eagles continued their dominance, stretching the lead to 36 with about 11:30 left in the game. With as little as 5 minutes left, they maintained a 35 point lead. At that point, Coach Michael Fly decided it was time to give the younger players some minutes. Many individuals played well on the way to what ended up being a 22 point victory.
Below we will give shoutouts to some of the players, give our impressions from the game, and take a brief look at what’s next for the Eagles.
Hector played the well-rounded game that we, as fans, are coming to expect from him. He finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists in just over 20 minutes of action. Most impressively, those 7 assists came with a zero turnover performance.
It is refreshing to see the lid come off the basket for Scott in this game. He shot 70% (7/10) from the floor and 67% (4/6) from 3. He finished the night with 19 points and 5 rebounds in while playing just over 27 minutes.
Catto continued his consistent play. In about 27 minutes, he scored 15 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, dished out 3 assists, and nabbed 2 steals. The always efficient Catto shot 50% and finished with zero turnovers as well.
Warren had a fantastic night off the bench. He played about 24 minutes and registered 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. He also finished with a positive 36 in the +/- measurement of efficiency.
In his 2nd game back from injury, Thomas has been a noticeable lift for the Eagles. He played just under 16 minutes, logging 7 points and 5 rebounds. He was also credited with 2 blocks, but it certainly seemed like a couple more than that as he was making it very difficult for opposing bigs to score.
Largie has been a surprise so far this season in just how many minutes he has received. As a walk-on, expectations for on-court contributions are typically slim to none. For the past 2 games, in particular, Largie has proved that he is capable of being in consistent rotation on a D-I college basketball team. When asked about his unexpected playing time, Coach Fly said this:
Cyrus plays hard and goes full speed every single day. He wins every sprint, has a great attitude, and puts in the work. He dominates portions of practice and I have to ask myself why I’m not playing him more so he has earned it. Not to put expectations on him, but he has a lot of similarities to Sherwood Brown. They were both lightly recruited out of high school and walked on to the team. [Cyrus] is not expected to get a bunch of points but you know he will do all of the small things and go for every loose ball. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and embodies what kind of team we wants to be.
After 6 straight losses, it was fantastic to see FGCU play a complete game and dominate. In a realistic sense, the opponent here is an NAIA team, which can be likened to D-II talent. A D-I team is supposed to dominate in a game like this. But that should not take away from the positives the Eagles can take away from this contest. Brian Thomas is a clear candidate to be a big difference-maker going forward. The experience gained by younger players over the course of this non-conference slate is invaluable going forward into conference play and in future seasons.
The Eagles will take some time to enjoy the holidays with family before they head to the west coast to play a dominant USC squad. Of course, USC is coached by Andy Enfield, the former coach of the original Dunk City team that put FGCU on the map by being the first 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16. Coach Fly has a long history and great relationship with Coach Enfield, having been a member of his staff at FGCU. Enfield also advocated for Fly’s hiring at FGCU when the head coaching position became vacant.