Florida Gulf Coast 70, Army 61
FT. MYERS, Fla. A furious second-half Army comeback that cut a 25-point deficit to five points fell just short as Florida Gulf Coast hung on for a 70-61 win over the Black Knights in men’s basketball action on Tuesday night at Alico Arena. Senior F Kenny Brewer and sophomore F Jeremy Hence both scored career highs with 16 and 11 points, respectively, in the losing effort.
The Black Knights trailed 59-34 with 10:55 left, but went on a 25-5 run over the next nine minutes to trim the Florida Gulf Coast lead to just five points. Brewer keyed the run with 10 of his 16 points. Army trailed 66-61 with 14 seconds left, but the Eagles were 4 for 4 from the foul line while the Black Knights missed their last two field goal attempts.
Brewer and Hence became the 11th and 12th Army players to score in double figures this season. Brewer did not miss a shot, going 6 for 6 from the floor and 4 for 4 from the free throw line. He also dished out four assists. Senior F John Moonshower chipped in with nine points.
Reed Baker led all players with 26 points, including four three-pointers, and a game-high nine rebounds to lead FGCU. Delvin Franklin also reached double figures with 14 points.
Army rallied to shoot 45.5 percent for the game, but could not overcome its 8 for 25 performance (32 percent) in the first half. The Eagles held decisive advantages from the foul line and the three-point line. FGCU was 17 for 19 from the stripe compared to just 9 of 13 for the Black Knights. The Eagles hit nine of their 17 three-point attempts, while Army was 2 for 17 from long range.
The Black Knights forced 22 turnovers, including 13 in the second half, and outscored Florida Gulf Coast 27-9 in the points off turnovers category. The Eagles outrebounded Army, 34-21.
Army led early on 3-2, but FGCU seized control of the game with a 19-2 run that gave the Eagles a 21-5 lead with 12:46 left in the opening half. The Black Knights trimmed the lead to 11 with five straight points that included a three-point play by junior C Chris Walker and a layup by junior G Josh Miler, but FGCU came right back with a 13-4 spurt to claim a 20-point lead, its largest of the half. The Black Knights closed with 14 points with a 9-3 run, including four by Brewer, but a Baker three-pointer at the end of the half sent the Eagles into the locker room with a 40-23 advantage.
The Eagles scored 17 of the first 26 points in the second half to stake themselves to a 25-point lead with 11:42 to go. Army would not go away, cranking up the defense to force eight turnovers during their run to get back into contention.
The loss was Army’s 17th straight defeat when allowing opponents to score 70-or-more points in a game.
The game concluded the 2008 portion of the Black Knights’ schedule. Army will travel to Dartmouth on Saturday, Jan. 3 for a rematch of its season-opening victory.
Game Notes: Army used the same starting five of Josh Miller, Marcus Nelson, Cleveland Richard, John Moonshower and Doug Williams for the fifth straight game ... Army has been outrebounded in 10 of its 12 games this season ... The loss evened the all-time series at 1-1 ... Army has now lost six straight games in the state of Florida ... None of Army’s five starters scored in double figures ... Jesse Steele was back in action after missing three games with an ankle injury ... Cleveland Richard played only 13 minutes, snapping his string of seven straight games with at least 32 minutes played ... Nelson was the only Army player to see 30 minutes of action ... Florida Gulf Coast attempted only 14 field goals in the second half.