FGCU Men’s Hoops Game Preview: FIU – 12/1/21

It’s a great time to be an FGCU Sports fan with the Volleyball team (26-5) gearing up for their NCAA tournament matchup with Texas Tech on Friday, December 3rd. Meanwhile, at Screecher Report, we mainly stick to Eagles basketball, which has plenty to get excited about. The women are undefeated (7-0) and ranked 22 in the AP and Coaches Poll. If you can, be sure to attend the FGCU Women’s Basketball game against Princeton on Wednesday night (tonight!) at the nest! If you can’t, fans will unfortunately have to choose whether to watch the Men or the Women as each game is being played at 7PM. We will likely be utilizing multiple screens to get our fix đź‘Ť.

As for the men’s team, Coach Fly and the squad (6-2) are building a ton of momentum. They’re on a 5 game win streak, matching the longest string of consecutive wins since the 2017-18 season (that team had 13 straight). The Eagles look to continue their success on Wednesday, December 1st as they travel across Alligator Alley to take on FIU. Below we will break down the opponent and the overall matchup.

FIU

The Panthers enter the contest at 6-1. Most recently, they handily beat FGCU’s ASUN foe, UNF, by a score of 84-69. FIU will also play Stetson and Jacksonville State later in their non-conference slate, making this match just a little more intriguing. Head to head, these teams have played each other plenty of times, with the Panthers currently holding the advantage (8-5). Over the past decade, FIU has often played the spoiler role for some good FGCU teams. Most recently though, the Panthers dominated the Eagles 71-53 in December of 2019. That FIU team was extremely talented and experienced. This iteration is made up of 6 freshmen (1 redshirt), 4 sophomores, 2 juniors (1 redshirt), and 3 seniors (1 graduate). So far, the Panthers have been led by 5’8″ / 160 lb redshirt junior guard Tevin Brewer. The former JUCO star has now started a lot of games for this team, including all 7 that they have played this year. He averages an impressive 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists, while shooting 49% from deep. 6’4″ / 195 lb freshman guard, Denver Jones has also been made an impact early in his career. He has played in all 7 games, making 1 start. He currently holds averages of 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. Lastly, Clevon Brown has made a splash for the Panthers since transferring from Vanderbilt this summer. The 6’8″ / 232 lb forward (Grad.) has started all 7 games, averaging 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. FIU is coached by Jeremy Ballard, who is in his 4th season at the helm and continues to improve their program.

FGCU

The Eagles are flying high right now, riding the aforementioned 5-game win streak. Beating Rhode Island was a big deal and an early season dose of validation. Following that up by winning 3 DI games in 3 days just builds momentum for this team. So far, FGCU has been led by their big-time offseason additions. Tavian Dunn-Martin (through 7 games) is averaging 20 points, 2 rebounds, and 5 assists, while shooting it at an incredibly high clip. The big man, Kevin Samuel, has been coming into his own and making his presence known, increasing his numbers to 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. Lastly, a familiar face, Cyrus Largie is averaging 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals per game.

Outlook

As stated, FIU has often served as a thorn in the side of some really good FGCU teams in the recent past. This time around, the matchup looks to be very competitive. Cyrus Largie is a Miramar/Miami-Area guy and I expect him to put on a good show for his family and friends in attendance. Beyond Cyrus and the usual contributors, there are several guys who are due for break out moments in an Eagles uniform. We’ve seen plenty of ability and flash from Matt Halvorsen and Austin Richie, but we’re yet to see either of them take over offensively like we know they can/will. Caleb Catto has played very well this season but it’s not necessarily showing up in the points column. He continues to be a prime candidate for a big game. Lastly, we’ve seen the ability that Dakota Rivers has. There are some games where he is shooting it from 3 really well. There are other times when he’s catching lobs and contributing in other ways. We’d love to see a balanced and complete game from him. Any number of guys could step up and they will need to, in order to continue the climb toward the heights that this team wants to achieve.

Stay Tuned!

Stay tuned for up to date FGCU Basketball coverage in the form of articles, podcasts, and an active social media presence.

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