Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
will play their first-ever NCAA Tournament game on Friday night in
Philadelphia when they take on the second-seeded Georgetown Hoyas in South
Region second-round action.
The winner will advance to Sunday's third round to play either San Diego State
FGCU (24-10) had a strong season in the Atlantic Sun, going 13-5, but it
played second-fiddle to Mercer all season long until it downed the Bears in
convincing fashion in the conference tournament championship game, 88-75. The
Eagles accomplished the feat in just their second year of Division I
postseason eligibility, and they prepared themselves well for this test in
their non-conference schedule with clashes against VCU, Duke and Iowa State.
They also hosted Miami-Florida on Nov. 13 and pulled off one of the biggest
upsets of the season with a 63-51 win.
While Georgetown ended the season on a disappointing note with a 58-55
overtime defeat at the hands of Syracuse in the semifinals of the Big East
Conference Tournament, it still put together an impressive campaign at 25-6
overall and 14-4 in arguably the toughest conference in the nation. The Hoyas
are one of the most well-represented teams in tournament history, making 29
appearances, including seven in nine years under current head coach John
Thompson III, and this marks the fourth time in program history that they have
been granted a No. 2 seed.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two squads in men's
Although the A-Sun is not considered to be a strong conference, FCGU
nonetheless showed tremendous balance at both ends of the floor this season,
scoring 73.1 ppg on 46 percent from the field while yielding 66.7 ppg. The
team also helped itself with positive turnover (+1.2) and rebounding (+1.2)
differentials. A big reason for the Eagles' success is because of the play of
Sherwood Brown, who averages 15.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 1.4 spg and was named the
A-Sun Player of the Year. Bernard Thompson is also having an outstanding
campaign with 14.0 ppg, and he is one of the nation's top thieves with 2.8
spg. Chase Fieler (12.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Brett Comer (7.9 ppg, 6.3 apg) also
play significant roles.
The Hoyas' claim to fame this season has been their outstanding defense, which
ranks near the top of Division I in allowing just 55.7 ppg on 37.6 percent
shooting, and while their offensive attack hasn't been spectacular (64.6 ppg,
.456), it has been plenty good enough to help the team to rise to elite
status. The straw that stirs the drink at both ends of the court is Big East
Player of the Year Otto Porter. The 6-foot-8 forward does plenty of damage on
offense, scoring 16.8 ppg with great percentages from the floor (.489), 3-
point range (.427) and the foul line (.781), but what makes him one of the
most dynamic playmakers in the country is his ability to stuff the stat sheet,
adding 7.4 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.9 spg and 0.9 bpg. Markel Starks is reliable out on
the perimeter with 12.5 ppg on 59-of-141 from beyond the arc (.418).
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