Although UNF coined its own hashtag #BirdsOfTrey this season, it was FGCU that lived up to the phrase and found their rhythm from beyond the arc Thursday night. Sparked by a trio of long-range shots from Filip Cvjeticanin in the first half, the Eagles finished the game with an efficient 8/17 (47%) clip from three.
Florida Gulf Coast went on to rout North Florida, 89-56, behind four double-digit scoring performances.
The Ospreys opened up a 21-12 lead to begin the game and a young Eagles team committed a multitude of turnovers in the first few minutes. It took a spark off the bench for FGCU to settle in. Known for clutch performances in March, Filip Cvjeticanin came into the contest and immediatly nailed a three with 11:09 remaining in the first half. This jump-started an enermous Eagles run and FGCU took a 45-31 into halftime.
While this certainly looked like the best half of basketball from FGCU all year, it was how they got there that was surprising. The Eagles entered the contest ranked 5th in the nation in percentage of points from two point field goals. But in addition to Cvjeticanin, Zach Johnson and Christian Terrell found their shot when it mattered most: March.
After the break, the Eagles immediatly got back to their bread and butter by feeding their big men. Demetris Morant and Marc-Eddy Norelia converted around the hoop as the Blue and Green extended their lead over UNF. The Ospreys unsuccessfully attempted a zone to slow down the FGCU offense.
Marc-Eddy Norelia finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season while Christian Terrell (16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists), Zach Johnson (15 points), and Filip Cvjeticanin (11 points) joined him in double figures.
The Eagles head back to Fort Myers to host Stetson in the Atlantic Sun title game at 7 pm on Sunday on ESPN2. The Hatters, however, are ineligible for the postseason due to APR reasons so UNF would head to the Big Dance if Stetson were to win.