Eagles basketball, once again
The Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive basketball game last week. They have a perfect 3-0 record in their Atlantic Sun Conference. Prior to conference play, their record was 11- 8.
The Eagles dominated from start to finish, as they easily defeated the team from the University of South Carolina, Upstate. Coach Joe Dooley attributes much of the team’s success to defensive play. “We really spread the floor and shared the ball tonight. But it all started on the defensive end again. We held Upstate to just 19 per cent from the floor in the first half. Those defensive stops set the tone for us, and allowed us to get out and run.”
The Eagles finished with a 20-9 edge in fastbreak points. They also committed just 11 turnovers, their fewest in nine games.
Guard Zach Johnson led the Eagles with 17 points, adding six assists. Dinero Mercurius had 13 points, including three baskets from outside the three point line. The Eagles shot 49 percent from the floor. The Spartans shot 33 percent from the floor. The Eagles had a 47-34 rebounding edge in the game.
The Eagles sent 12 players to the court in the game, including Darnell Rogers. There was a buzz in the crowd when Rogers took the floor. He stands at 5-foot, 2-inches, and is the smallest Division One player in the country. His father, Shawntra, also played D 1 basketball at George Washington University.
Other notable family connections on the Eagles include Ryan McAdoo, son of Bob McAdoo. McAdoo Senior is a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, was a five-time NBA All Star, and was the league MVP in 1975. Michael Gilmore is the nephew of Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore.
I had the pleasure to sit near Billy Knight, a fine player several years ago who spent most of his NBA career with the Indiana Pacers. Always a pleasure to chat with veterans of the game, no matter what the game.
The Eagles go on the road for three games, then return to the Alico Arena to face Jacksonville on January 27, and North Florida on the 29th. There were a few empty seats in the bleachers for the game against the Spartans. As the season winds down, there will be sellouts, and the crowd will be deafening.
Get your tickets early. See you there!