Men’s Basketball Hits Road for ASUN Test at Central Arkansas
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FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s basketball team (11-3 overall, 1-0 ASUN) kicks off the new year Monday night with an ASUN conference road test at Central Arkansas ( 5-9, 0-1). The Farris Center tip in Conway, Ark., is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. and the game is available for viewing on ESPN+.
FGCU won four straight and erased an 18-point second-half deficit against Jacksonville to win their opener ASUN 72-65 on New Year’s Eve. In total, the Eagles have won nine of their last 10 games.
Monday’s game is only the second between the Bears and Eagles, as Central Arkansas was a divisional crossover opponent for the FGCU in 2021-22 as the Bears competed in their first year in ASUN. In the February 3, 2022 game in Conway, Ark., FGCU closed regulation with an 8-1 score and took the 95-93 victory in overtime. Former Eagle guard Tavian Dunn-Martin tied his season high with 34 points and notched his fourth double-double of the season with 10 back-and-forth assists.
Central Arkansas has lost five straight games, all on the road, with three of those opponents currently ranked in the NCAA NET top 50. Monday’s game will be the Bears’ first at home since Dec. 6.
UCA was without one of its regular starters, junior guard Collin Cooper, in its ASUN opener, falling 82-66 at Kennesaw State on Saturday. Down just two at halftime, the Bears were on the wrong end of a 19-4 run to open the final 20 minutes and were outscored 49-35 in the second half. Sophomore guard Camren Hunter recorded his 14 points in the second period and senior guard/forward Eddy Kayouloud was the only other double-digit Bear with 13.
Hunter leads Central Arkansas with 16.2 points per game, which ranks third in ASUN. Kayouloud is amassing a team-best 6.1 rebounds per game and is second in average with 14.9 points per outing. Junior guard Masai Olowokere is adding 5.8 rebounds per game. Arkansas Center ranks ninth in the conference in average with 72.9 ppg and has averaged just over 66 ppg in its last five losses. The Bears are allowing 80.4 points per game, the highest average in ASUN.
Senior guard Isaiah Thompson (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville HS/Purdue), who scored 14 points in Jacksonville’s win, leads the FGCU with 13.6 points per game. Junior forward Zach Anderson (Apopka, Fla./Apopka HS) is just behind Thompson in the scoring column with 13.4 ppg after recording his fourth double-double of the season with a career-high 18 points 14 rebounds against the Dolphins. Anderson is the Eagles’ leading rebounder with 7.8 per outing, a number that ranks him third in ASUN.
Graduate guard Caleb Catto (Cape Coral, Fla./Southwest Florida Christian Academy) leads the FGCU with 42 assists and now has 300 for his career after beating five against Jacksonville. Junior guard Chase Johnston (Boca Raton, Fla./Westminster Academy/Stetson) is tied for the lead in ASUN and tied for 44th nationally with 28 interceptions. Senior forward Dakota Rivers (Windermere, Fla./Windermere HS) is fourth in ASUN with 1.1 blocks per game and has a 98 total for third place on the FGCU career list.
In ASUN’s opening win on Saturday, FGCU trailed Jacksonville 49-31 in the second half, but used a 21-4 run to take a two-point lead with 8:11 remaining. The Eagles limited Jacksonville to 36% shooting in the second half after the Dolphins shot 50% from the field in the first period.
All but one of FGCU’s 11 wins this season have come when their opponent scores 65 points or less. FGCU is averaging 72.5 points per game while allowing opponents 66.4 per outing. FGCU is making 9.2 3-pointers per game and allowing opponents 7.6 triples per out.
For complete coverage of FGCU men’s basketball, follow the Eagles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FGCU_MBB and online at www.FGCUAthletics.com. You can also sign up to receive news about FGCU men’s basketball and other programs straight to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.
INDIVIDUAL TICKETS, MINI PLANS AVAILABLE
Tickets for the 2022-23 FGCU Basketball season are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.FGCUTickets.com or by calling 866-FGCU-TIX. Group tickets can also be purchased for 10 or more – making a memorable evening for families, businesses or other organizations.
IT TAKES A TEAM to achieve our new goal – a $10 million campaign to address the needs of student-athletes for continued academic success, life skills, mental health, nutrition, strength and conditioning, as well as the department’s needs for facility expansion and improvements as well as mentorship and leadership training for coaches and staff. The name embodies our mission and the goal of the EAGLE – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence campaign. Join our team and pledge your donation today to help the Eagles of tomorrow!
Pat Chambers was officially introduced as the FGCU’s fifth men’s basketball head coach in March 2022, bringing a wealth of college basketball experience highlighted by head coaching stints at Penn State and the University of Boston. Chambers spent nine years as head of the Penn State program (2011-20) and two years as head coach at Boston University (2009-11). He has 201 career wins over that span, including four 20+ seasons. Part of his career as a head coach was highlighted by leading the Nittany Lions to 9th place nationally in 2019-20, which tied the program’s best ranking set in 1996. Prior to becoming a head coach, he spent five seasons as part of the Villanova staff helping the Wildcats to a Final Four (2009), two Elite Eight and three Sweet Sixteen appearances during his tenure.
FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (https://www.fgcu.edu/adminservices/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), the charities choice of FGCU Athletics. For more information, including how to contribute, please visit https://www.fgcu.edu/adminservices/foodpantry and use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.
ABOUT THE FGCU
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 94 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 15+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just over 11 seasons of playoff eligibility DI, the Eagles have had a total of 47 teams or individuals competing in the NCAA Championships. In 2022, the men’s golf team became the first program to earn an NCAA Tournament berth. Eight FGCU programs have achieved national top 25 rankings in their respective sports – including women’s basketball (#20, 2021-22 and #25 in 2022-23) beach volleyball (#20, 2022 ) and Men’s Football (2018, 2019) and Women’s Football (2018) as four of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Greens and Blues posted the department’s best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top 100 nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and Florida State’s top seven teams won the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progression in their sport. FGCU also collectively achieved a record 3.66 classroom GPA in the fall 2022 semester and outperformed the general undergraduate college population for 27 consecutive semesters. The last seven semesters (Fall 2019 – Fall 2022) saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a cumulative team average of 3.0 or higher. The Eagles also served an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two finalists for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.