FGCU Men’s Game Preview: Eagles Welcome the Rams to Alico – 11-23-21

Continuing their competitive early-season slate, FGCU Men’s Hoops welcomes Rhode Island to Alico Arena, Tuesday at 7:00 PM. The Eagles are fresh off of a rebound win over Eckerd College and a couple of competitive, hard-fought losses before that. Below we will break down the matchup.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island currently sits at 4-1 on the season including 2 wins over Boston College and wins over Bryant and Boston University. The Rams’ lone loss came against Tulsa (FGCU’s Austin Richie’s former team). As currently constructed, this Rhode Island roster features 2 seniors/grads, 3 juniors, 3 sophomores, and a whopping 6 freshmen. This year the Rams have largely employed a 9-man rotation, with the same 5 guys making all 5 starts, each averaging over 8 PPG. They have been led by 6’1″ / 165 senior guard Jeremy Sheppard who is averaging 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and shooting 48% from beyond the arc. The Rams’ also feature sophomore, Makhel and Makhi Mitchell. These brothers are 6’10” / 245 and 6’9″ / 230, respectively. Makhel has been averaging about 11 points, 5 rebounds, and an astonishing 4 blocks per game. Makhi has averaged about 10 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks per game. Lastly, Rhode Island is coached by David Cox, who after 4 years as an assistant, has been at the helm for several seasons.

FGCU

FGCU’s tough non-conference schedule continues against the Rams. Despite losing to Loyola Chicago and USC, the Eagles have looked much improved. Tavian Dunn-Martin has looked the part, averaging 19 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds while shooting 45% from beyond the arc. Junior Cyrus Largie has resumed his steady rise, averaging 13 points and continues to be one of the best rebounding guards in the NCAA, securing 5 per game. Kevin Samuel has fortified the center spot for the Eagles. So far, the 6’11” / 260 lb big man is averaging 7 points 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game and only getting better. His size has been very valuable against schools like Rhode Island who would typically have an advantage in that area.

Starting 5 Predictions

Rhode Island

  • Jeremy Sheppard
  • Ishmael Leggett
  • Ishmael El-Amin
  • Makhel Mitchell
  • Makhi Mitchell

FGCU

  • Tavian Dunn-Martin
  • Cyrus Largie
  • Austin Richie
  • Zach Anderson
  • Kevin Samuel

Outlook

As stated, FGCU’s early season schedule is not very friendly to the record. Still, the fight, grit, and skill that the Eagles have demonstrated thus far makes them a contender even versus a talented Rhode Island team. It would be huge for the team to get a big win here. That kind of W is a tone-setter for the rest of non-conference play.

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