Coming off of a tough loss, FGCU responded by winning an OT game against Central Arkansas just 2 days ago. It wasn’t always pretty and the defensive issues stood out, but the Eagles are now 14-9 (4-5) and looking to build momentum against Lipscomb. Overall, the Bisons lead the series 17-13. More recently, FGCU has won 4 of the last 7 meetings, dating back to 2019. Last season the Eagles won 2 of 3; 1 of those wins coming in the ASUN tournament. Below we will break down the matchup.
Lipscomb has had an interesting season thus far. Currently, their record sits at 10-14 and 3-6 in ASUN play. The Bisons played an extremely tough non-conference schedule, squaring off against teams like Dayton, Belmont, Miami, FSU, and LSU, among others. Of those opponents, they managed a 78-59 win over Dayton. Whether the tough non-con gamut pays off or not is always up for debate. The Bisons’ 3 ASUN wins have come against UNA, Kennesaw, and UNF. Their losses have come against Central Arkansas, Jacksonville State, Bellarmine, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville, and Stetson.
On the court, the Bisons have been led by some familiar faces. 6’9″ / 275 lb forward Ahsan Asadullah continues to be a force for them. Through 16 games, he is averaging 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. Jacob Ognacevic joined the Bisons this season after a year at Valparaiso. The 6’7″ forward has made an immediate impact, averaging 14 points and 5 rebounds while making his 3-point shots at a 52% clip. Will Pruitt is another guy the Eagles are familiar with. The 6’3″ guard is averaging 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists, while shooting nearly 40% from downtown. 6’3″ guard Greg Jones has averaged 10 points and 3 rebounds. The most experienced Lipscomb player is Parker Hazen. The 6’8″ / 210 lb forward is averaging around 8 points and 6 rebounds per game.
With the conference portion of the season starting to wind down, FGCU finds itself in a familiar situation. For the duration of ASUN play, the Eagles have pretty much alternated wins/losses. In fact, they have not won 2 straight games since December 19th. But with a familiar situation, comes a chance to break the mould. Similar to their last game against UCA, The Eagles have a definite size advantage. This advantage is highlighted by the 6’11” / 255 lb Kevin Samuel. The big man continues to impose his will, averaging 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. His matchup with Asadullah will be something to watch in this one. Another story of this season has been the play of Tavian Dunn-Martin (TDM). The 5’8″ guard averages approximately 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists and is a threat to drop 30 on any given night. But as the last couple months have shown, a high scoring effort from him isn’t always enough. Whether TDM has an off night or he scores 20+, other guys have to step up and add some offense. Cyrus Largie, Caleb Catto, Matt Halvorsen, and Austin Richie have all been that guy on multiple occasions this year. This is a pretty deep Lipscomb team and FGCU’s depth will have to perform up to their abilities to stifle their attack. Additionally, FGCU’s zone defense has been a topic of contention. There are times when it has been very effective, limiting the opponents offensive production. There have also been times where the wrong guys are left open for 3-point shots or moves to the basket, far too often. The defensive play for FGCU will be a big factor in this one because Lipscomb is not a team you want to leave open on the perimeter.
At the end of the day, the Eagles have another opportunity to buck the trend of trading wins/losses. With a win over the Bisons tonight, they improve to 15-9 (5-5) and possibly 3rd in the ASUN East Division with 6 games remaining. A loss would dig them into a deeper hole. Sweeping this week(end) would put FGCU in a much more favorable spot with chances to stack Ws in winnable conference games coming up down the stretch. On the other hand, losing reinforces the more pessimistic views regarding the inconsistency and ability of the team.
World of Beer Watch Party
Come out and join us at World of Beer (Gulf Coast Town Center) for our 1st of at least 2 watch parties, starting when the game tips at 5PM this evening! Talk some basketball, get 10% off your bill, win a $25 WOB gift card, and maybe join the post-game pod!