In the first game of the series versus UNA, FGCU played maybe their best game of the season in an 86-60 victory. Based on record and inconsistent play since conference season began, the Eagles were the underdogs but once again showed how good they can be when they execute to the level of their ability. Below we will go over 5 Fast Facts from game 1, heading into game 2.
1. Balanced Attack
Highlighting the Eagles’ success over the Lions is the balance effort they put forth. FGCU had 5 players score in double-digits. Additionally, they were 1 Franco Miller point and 1 Victor Rosa 3 away from 7 players in double figures. The Eagles were led by a 16 point performance from Jalen Warren who added 5 assists and 3 rebounds. Eli Abaev had a very strong game, scoring 14 and adding 10 rebounds and 3 assists. Dom London and Cyrus Largie each had 12 with the latter hauling in 8 boards as well. Caleb Catto also finished the night with 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Besides so many people being a threat to score, a parent function of this is that no player played over about 27 minutes. In theory, guys should be fresh for the 2nd game and fatigue will not be a factor in the outcome.
2. Clean Game
FGCU’s turnover issues have definitely died down as of late. The Eagles turned in another clean performance tonight with just 12 turnovers to go along with 17 assists and 7 steals to more than offset those blunders. Additionally, FGCU committed just 3 turnovers in the first half and their 9 2nd half turnovers came at a point when the game was in hand and younger players were getting minutes.
3. Crashing the Boards
Heading into the game, Coach Fly made the choice to go with a small lineup of 4 guards and a lone big. Going small typically helps with scoring and improving shooting percentages, but not with rebounding. Despite that, the Eagles outrebounded the Lions 57-41, largely on the backs of Eli Abaev, Cyrus Largie, Caleb Catto, and Zach Anderson, who had 10, 8, 6, and 6 rebounds, respectively. If FGCU can even somewhat replicate this performance, it will be hard for them to not also replicate the victory.
FGCU held a typically solid shooting UNA team to just 23% from beyond the arc. Beyond that, the Eagles held 2 of the Lions’ stars in Payton Youngblood and Jamari Blackman to 3 and 0 points, respectively. On top of that, Dakota Rivers is continuing his impressive shot-blocking career by adding 3 more in this game.
5. Replicating the Performance
This was an exciting, reliving, and confidence building win for the Eagles. But that all goes away if they again fail to win the back half of the series. With 2 wins versus UNA, FGCU would have a chance to rack up a wins against Kennesaw State and Jacksonville, putting the Eagles in fantastic position as ASUN play wanes.
Stay tuned for Russell’s 5 Eagles Things following the results of game 2!