After maybe the most disappointing loss of the season, FGCU (13-9, 3-5) has another chance to redeem a lackluster performance. This time, they travel to west to take on Central Arkansas for the first time. The Eagles are 1-2 against the ASUN West Division this year and have an opportunity to flip that script with a couple of wins over the next few days. Below, we will break down the first of those chances; a matchup against the UCA Bears.
The Central Arkansas Bears are 6-14 on the year and 3-4 in the conference. UCA played a strong non-conference season, suffering losses to Saint Louis, Butler, Baylor, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and others. They also played and won against Oral Roberts. The Bears began ASUN play with a couple of wins over Eastern Kentucky and Lipscomb. Since then, they are 1-4 and have lost 3 straight to Jacksonville State, UNF, and Jacksonville. As a team, they are very young. Currently, the roster is comprised of 8 freshmen, 4 sophomores, 2 juniors, and 2 seniors. Leading the charge for them is the 6’7″ junior, Darious Hall, who has played for bigger programs like Arkansas and DePaul. This versatile G/F averages nearly 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. 6’3″ freshman Camren Hunter has been impressive for the Bears as well. Through 20 games, he is averaging around 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Sophomore Collin Cooper has played in 18 games, averaging about 11 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists, while shooting 39% from 3. Junior G/F, Eddy Kayouloud, has been a big-time player off the bench for the Bears. The 6’7″ / 230 pounder has played in 20 games, making just 1 start, and averages 9 points and 4 rebounds. Jared Chatham is a 6’8 / 185 lb senior forward for UCA. Through 20 games, he has averaged about 9 points and 5 rebounds. Lastly, the Bears are Coached by Anthony Boone who is in his 2nd season at the helm. Prior to this, he served as their interim Head Coach during the 19-20 season.
As far as bad losses go this season, FGCU’s recent game against Bellarmine ranks up there with the loss to Kennesaw State as 1A and 1B. Part of what made it so frustrating was that there were several stretches where it looked like the Eagles would have their way and maybe get a double digit W out of it. At the very least, FGCU looked competitive against Bellarmine for the first +/-25 minutes of the contest. But those last 15 minutes were some of the hardest basketball to watch. Guys looked gassed, shots wouldn’t fall, foul calls weren’t going their way (a ridiculous number of charges/blocking fouls), and the defense was simply being carved up. At the end of the day, the Eagles lost 63-74, leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
It has been 5 days since then. With Central Arkansas tonight, and Lipscomb on the horizon, FGCU has another chance to stop the bleeding and get things moving back in the right direct. That all starts tonight in a late game for the Eagles (8:45 Est.). Physically, FGCU stacks up well against the Bears. Among the UCA players who average 10 or more minutes per game, none are taller than 6’8″. The Eagles, of course, have a luxury like Kevin Samuel (6’11” / 255) and can really take advantage with his size. The player to really watch out for is the aforementioned Darious Hall. His combination of size and athleticism could be tough for the Eagles to stifle. However, Hall actually missed their last game versus JU, due to a shoulder injury. He’s likely to be back in this one but regardless, Eddy Kayouloud is a more-than-suitable replacement.
It’s something that we’ve said multiple times now. With the talent this FGCU team has, they simply need to turn it on and get hot at the right time. At this point in the season with just 8 regular season games remaining, their time to do that is waning more and more. The Eagles have struggled on the road and have had trouble putting 2 halves together. There are times where the offense has looked stagnant and also times where it looks unstoppable. There are times where the defense is getting carved up and other times when it has suffocated opponents. Fixing and minimizing these issues doesn’t happen overnight. There is still time to improve and do enough to win games in the process. Picking up a couple of wins these next few days is what needs to happen. The first step is tonight versus Central Arkansas.
Stay Tuned – Watch Party (2/5/22)
Join us at World of Beer in the Gulf Coast Town Center on Saturday, February 5th as FGCU Men’s Hoops takes on Lipscomb at 5PM. This will be our first hosted watch party so come out and watch the game, talk basketball with us, win a gift card, join the the pod, and get 10% off your bill!
Stay up to date on all things FGCU Basketball by following Screecher Report on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok. Check out our articles here at ScreecherReport.com and listen to the pod here or wherever you get your podcasts!