PREVIEW: FGCU Welcomes Kennesaw State to the Nest – 1/16

FGCU (5-14, 2-2) is set to host Kennesaw State (1-15, 0-3) on 1/16 at Alico Arena. FGCU is coming off of a thrilling OT victory over Stetson and looking to get a streak going. Kennesaw is still looking for their first conference win. Amir Abdur-Rahim is in his first year at the helm for the Owls. He took over after last season when Kennesaw won only 6 games. The road has been rocky for them so far as they are dealing with several key injuries. Below, we will take a look at some of the players that the Owls will most likely have available and will be featuring. We will also go over the matchups, the outlook for the game, and give our predictions.

The Players

Tyler Hooker

Hooker is a 5’10” / 147 lb redshirt senior guard who has been a solid player for the Owls for several years now. Last year he averaged a staggering 19 points per game. This season he has battled through some injury and missed a few games. In his first game back from injury, he provided the Owls with 24 points and looks to be 100%. On the season, Hooker is averaging 14 points and 4 rebounds.

Jamie Lewis

Lewis has played in only 5 games (3 starts) since returning from injury. He is a 6’4″ / 175 lb redshirt freshman guard. Lewis has quickly made an impact for the Owls. He is currently averaging 13 points and 4 rebounds in 29 minutes per game while shooting 53% from deep. In his last 2 outings, he has come alive and has averaged 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Ugo Obineke

Obineke is a 6’6″ / 191 lb sophomore. He has started 13 games this year, playing 29 minutes per outing. Currently, he is averaging 10 points and 3 rebounds. Obineke is versatile and can play some on the wing as well. He is shooting 40% from the floor and 36% from 3.

Bryson Lockley

Lockley is the last significant contributor that is expected to be available for the Owls. He is a 6’8″ / 208 lb forward and redshirt senior. He has played in 16 games, making 13 starts and playing 29 minutes per contest. In those minutes, he is averaging 8 points and 5 rebounds.

The Matchups

Guards

Kennesaw State’s top end production is definitely guard based. An injury to Freshman, Terrell Burden has made them shorthanded though. Still Tyler Hooker and Jamie Lewis are more than capable of taking over a game. FGCU’s backcourt has really come on strong in the last few weeks. Caleb Catto has been on fire and contributing in really every way possible. Jalen Warren has come on strong and is showing that he has the ability to drive to the basket and finish. Scott and Gagliardi have each found their shot to at least some extent as well. The Eagles have the clear advantage here from a production standpoint, especially with the potential injuries that may still be looming for Kennesaw.

Forwards

Ugo Obineke is a uniquely sized forward at 6’6″ and shy of 200 lbs. His versatility makes him a tough matchup for any team. Bryson Lockley is the closest thing to a true big that has had any impact for the Owls and projects to be available for the game. Armani Harris and Antonio Spencer have been hurt and unavailable in recent weeks. Due to this, the Owls have been extremely thin at the forward spots. FGCU has the clear advantage here from just a bodies standpoint, let alone production. Any number of Eagles have a chance to make a big impact in this one if the Owls are indeed as shorthanded as they project to be.

Projected Starters

FGCUKennesaw
Jalen Warren – G (#5)Tyler Hooker – G (#4)
Sam Gagliardi – G (#15)Jamie Lewis – G (#12)
Caleb Catto – G (#2)Ugo Obineke – F (#15)
Tracy Hector Jr – F (#13)Bryson Lockley – F (#24)
Justus Rainwater – F (#32)Drew Romich – F (#41)

The Outlook

FGCU has a chance to win back to back games for the first time this season. Doing so would put them in a good spot in the early ASUN standings and give the team much needed momentum. In all reality, the Eagles should win this game. Kennesaw absolutely cannot be taken lightly though. FGCU has had more than its fair share of struggles this year and cannot afford to lose a game that they should win, regardless of how healthy Kennesaw is or isn’t by tipoff.

The Predictions

Elliott Kresse (14-5)

“This has to be a W. Kennesaw is clearly at the bottom of the ASUN and is lacking bodies.” – Elliott

76-68 – FGCU

Russell Kelly (11-8)

“FGCU finally gets some momentum here with a solid win over Kennesaw State” – Russell

75-64 – FGCU

Dawson Jordan (10-9)

“Inconsistencies still seem to wreak havoc on this young team but FGCU should be able to pull this one out.” – Dawson

68-63 – FGCU

Bryan Genter (11-8)

“It’s time for FGCU to make a statement and take care of business against a team that looks like they will finish last in the ASUN.” – Bryan

72-58 – FGCU