Eagles fly past Stetson, 67-51, to win 6th straight

Author: FGCU Athletics
Published: Updated:

DeLAND, Fla. (FGCU Athletics) – FGCU men’s basketball senior guard Brett Comer flirted with the program’s first-ever triple-double, but had to settle for 21 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds as he led the Eagles (17-7, 7-1 Atlantic Sun Conference) to their sixth-straight win with a 67-51 victory Saturday afternoon at Stetson (8-16, 2-6 A-Sun).

The victory keeps FGCU in a first-place tie with North Florida (15-10, 7-1 A-Sun) as the six-game winning streak is the third-longest in Division-I program history. The Eagles and Ospreys both remain two games ahead of USC Upstate (18-7, 5-3 A-Sun) and three games clear – at the moment – of Lipscomb (10-12, 4-3 A-Sun).

Demetris Morant (Miami, Fla./Bishop Gorman HS/UNLV) produced the best all-around performance of his career as the redshirt sophomore scored nine points, grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and blocked a career-best seven shots. The seven rejections are the most in program history against a D-I opponent, and one shy of tying the all-time record of eight set by Nate Hicks (Panama City Beach, Fla./J.R. Arnold HS/Georgia Tech) against Eckerd last year.

FGCU’s 17-7 start is its best through 24 games in D-I program history, the 7-1 A-Sun start bests the 6-2 league start from last year and the 17 wins are also the most of any D-I team in the state of Florida.

With FGCU trailing 17-10 midway through the first half, Comer (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) finally broke an 0-8 start from beyond the 3-point line for the Eagles with a triple from the wing. That spearheaded a 15-1 run to end the half as the Green and Blue turned a seven-point deficit into a seven-point halftime lead, 25-18. FGCU didn’t allow the Hatters – who entered the contest on a three-game winning streak – to hit a field goal in the final 7:50 of the half.

A Kentwan Smith 3-pointer for Stetson opened the second-half scoring and trimmed the Eagles’ advantage to four, 25-21, but they responded with a 15-5 run over the next four minutes to open up at the time their largest lead of the afternoon, 40-26, following a Bernard Thompson 3-pointer. The triple was the 200th of his career as the senior is now one of only two players in program history with at least 200 career 3-pointers.

Stetson – playing in front of a season-high 2,642 fans, more than double any other home crowd this year – trimmed the deficit to just seven, 47-40, with nine minutes remaining. However, FGCU – playing in front of a few hundred supporters clad mostly in blue – responded with a 6-0 run which was capped by a 3-pointer from freshman Christian Terrell (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence HS). From there the Hatters never got closer than nine as the Eagles won their sixth in a row against their in-state travel partner.

“We got off to a slow start and took a lot of deep and hurried shots early in the first half. But we settled in on offense and starting getting some stops at the defensive end which helped our offense,” said FGCU head coach Joe Dooley. “Our ball movement was much better in the second half, and the job Brett and Demetris did was phenomenal in giving us production and energy that we needed.”

Dunk City showed why once again Depth City might be an appropriate moniker for the 2014-15 campaign as in addition to Comer and Morant’s afternoons, Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) posted nine points, six rebounds and five assists, Jamail Jones (Atlanta, Ga./Montverde Academy/Marquette) added six points and eight rebounds, Marc-Eddy Norelia (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS/Tulane) contributed six points and eight rebounds and Terrell netted eight points while knocking down two 3-pointers.

After shooting just 30.6 percent from the floor in the first half (11-36), FGCU connected at a 50-percent clip in the second half (15-30). The Eagles attempted 18 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes and made just three of them (16.7 percent), but got more efficient looks in the second 20 minutes and attempted just 10 3s and hit four (40 percent).

FGCU’s second-ranked national perimeter defense limited Stetson to just 22.7 percent from the beyond the arc (5-22). During their three-game winning streak, the Hatters had connected at a 48.3-percent clip from 3-point range (14-29). For the game, FGCU held Stetson to just 26.8 percent from the floor (19-71) – the exact same percentage the Hatters shot from the floor when the two teams met on Jan. 10 to open conference play (72-50 FGCU win).

Smith recorded a double-double to lead Stetson as the senior scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Divine Myles added 12 points, and Angel Rivera netted 10 for the Hatters, who are now tied with Kennesaw State (8-17, 2-6 A-Sun) for sixth place in the league.

FGCU continues its three-game road trip when it travels to Northern Kentucky (9-13, 3-4 A-Sun) for a 7 p.m. tipoff on Thursday, Feb. 12, before concluding against Lipscomb at 5 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Feb. 14. The Eagles defeated NKU last Saturday at home, 74-64, and claimed a 78-62 win over Lipscomb last Thursday at The Nest. NKU and Lipscomb face each other Saturday night in Highland Heights, Ky.

GAME NOTES: FGCU entered the contest ranked No. 20 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll … the Eagles are now 36-1 since 2012-13 when leading at the half … the Eagles held a 49-46 edge on the glass … in every A-Sun game this year FGCU has grabbed at least 13 offensive rebounds (exactly 13 vs. Stetson) and scored at least 12 second-chance points (exactly 12 vs. Stetson) … 2005 graduate Ryan Hopkins (355) is the only player in program history with more 3-pointers than Thompson … Comer has four 20+ scoring performances in A-Sun play this year for the first time in a single season in his career … the only longer winning streaks in D-I program history are a pair of seven-game runs during the 2012-13 Sweet 16 season … FGCU now leads the all-time series with Stetson, 12-6, and has won 11 of the last 13 meetings … the 11 blocks for FGCU are a season high … Comer now has four double-doubles on the year.

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