Florida Gulf Coast held serve on Saturday night as they defeated Kennesaw State, 75-63, to stay tied with Lipscomb atop the Atlantic Sun standings.
The first half was a sluggish affair between the Eagles and Owls. Behind some early buckets from Kendrick Ray, KSU took a slight edge. But FGCU got a much needed boost off the bench from Rayjon Tucker. The dynamic sophomore scored seven points in the final four minutes of the half, to give the Blue and Green a seven point lead heading into the locker-room.
But Kennesaw State came out swinging to start the 2nd half, taking a one point lead just three minutes in. Kendrick Ray then picked up his 3rd foul of the night with 16 minutes remaining and the tide started turning FGCU's way.
The Eagles went on a 13-2 run to take a double digit lead. Although Zach Johnson didn't seem to be completely in rhythm, he turned defense into offense and ended the night with 10 points and 3 assists.
It goes without saying at this point, but Brandon Goodwin once again delivered some clutch buckets down the stretch to put this game out of reach. The junior guard, who is on pace for a historic season, poured in 24 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
FGCU and Lipscomb now both stand at 9-2 in conference play with three regular season games remaining. The first tiebreaker, to determine who receives the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the conference tournament, is head-to-head record. With the Eagles and Lipscomb splitting their regular season meetings this season, the next tiebreaker is record against the 3rd place team (USC Upstate at the moment), or 4th place - an so on - if there is still a tie. Just keep these rules in mind as the rest of the season plays out.
Next up, Florida Gulf Coast heads to NJIT for a Thursday night battle in Newark.