Taking on the NAIA Ave Maria Gyrenes from just south down I-75, FGCU welcomed them to The Nest in a not-so-nice manner. On the flip side, the Eagles did exactly what they're supposed to do to an NAIA opponent. Florida Gulf Coast put together a 91-34 victory, with 57 points being the second biggest margin of victory in program history.
Dunk City dominance was out in full force on Sunday evening, as they tallied eight jams against the Gyrenes. Once again, it was Christian Terrell who led the team in their rout. Terrell set a new career high with 24 points, and shot a cool nine of 15 from the floor including four of six from behind the long line.
Despite the huge lead, is last points of the game were his most significant. With just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Terrell got the ball at the three-point line, slipped his defender, and drove to the rim for his first collegiate dunk.
"I just wanted to make a play at the rim," Terrell said. "That was my first dunk here, I believe, and I just wanted to attack the rim and get points."
FGCU was able to overpower Ave Maria right from the get-go. They started the game by getting a dunk from Demetris Morant, and then continued to dominate until the final buzzer sounded. Coach Joe Dooley played all 13 available players, and was able to mix and match his rotations to experiment in a low-stakes game.
Among the players that got more minutes than usual were Rayjon Tucker and Kevin Mickle. Tucker was up to his usual antics, stealing an inbounds pass and putting a Gyrene on a poster, and Mickle put together a strong 12 point, seven rebound performance.
Coming from an NAIA school in Broward College, Mickle has parlayed his high energy spirit into early success at FGCU.
"High energy is everything. Your energy goes to another player, and another player," Mickle said.
After being overpowered by Florida inside, the big men of Florida Gulf Coast were able to rebuild their confidence against Ave Maria. In addition to Mickle, the trio of Morant (11 points, 9 rebounds), Marc-Eddy Norelia (14 points, 6 rebounds), and Antravious Simmons (10 points, 8 rebounds) all reached double-figure scoring.
Heading into a road battle with 25th ranked Texas A&M on Wednesday, FGCU's big men needed a nice rebound performance to get Friday's taste out of its mouth. The Eagles out-rebounded the Gyrenes 51-23, and although that's expected, it was refreshing to see happen. Still, Dooley sees that there's room for improvement in the coming weeks.
"We need to rebound the ball better. We hadn't early in the season especially, and I think that's something we really emphasized," he said. "Having Meech out there also helps it. When the balls on the rim, he's active and he needs to rebound the ball better, but our perimeter guys have done a better job and our post guys are continuing to get better."
- Julian DeBose did not play as a precautionary measure to get him off his left ankle that he twisted last weekend. He very well could've played, but there was no need for it
- FGCU led for 39:48 on Sunday evening, and it's the first game all season for them where there wasn't a single tie or lead change
- 55 first half points is the most points the Eagles have scored in a single half this season. Last year, they scored only 12 points in the first half against Ave Maria