FGCU men’s basketball gaining momentum after upset win over FAU

Author: Zach Oliveri
Published: Updated:

Within seconds of the final buzzer Saturday night, Eagles fans flocked to center court at Alico Arena to celebrate with the team after one of the biggest upset wins in Florida Gulf Coast men’s basketball history.

“I looked away looked back everybody was on the court. Like it happened that quick,” guard Dallion Johnson recalled.

“I was looking for my coach actually to dap him up and I got pushed in the back,” forward Zach Anderson explained his experience. “And then all of a sudden everybody was just surrounding me. Jumping up in the air.”

“This is something I need to do in the new year is to stay present be in the moment,” head coach Pat Chambers said. “And enjoy the successes and victories. I was still upset with the refs at that point so haha I needed to get over that. And I eventually did when I got in the locker room with the team because I was so proud of them.”

There’s a lot for this Eagles team to be proud of. The 72-68 win over the then No. 7 ranked FAU Owls marked the first win against a ranked opponent since the Sweet 16 run in 2013, when Dunk City was born.

“It was always about us,” Chambers recalled his pregame message to the team. “It was never about FAU. It was never about top 10 in the country. It was never about they just beat Arizona. It was always about what are we doing right here right now to get better. And that was our total mindset. That was our total focus.”

FGCU hopes to ride the momentum of this signature win into conference play, which starts Thursday against Jacksonville. The non-conference start to the season was rough after multiple injuries and a strength of schedule at 55th in the nation.

But the upset win has this team feeling battle tested.

“We started really believing a lot more that we can really reach our potential and just keep winning,” Johnson said. “I think it’s just that belief that we can continue to do special things with this unit.”

“This feels good,” Chambers said. “We want to keep this going, but we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves either.”

“We had a very hard non-conference against a lot of great great teams,” Anderson explained. “So going into FAU we knew we were able to compete with these high majors and these high level teams. So bringing that confidence into conference play is just going to make us better.”

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