FORT MYERS, Fla. - No. 4 FGCU protected home court in the opening round of the Atlantic Sun Men's Basketball Championship with a 74-64 win vs. Kennesaw State. The Eagles advance to Thursday semifinals and travel to Jacksonville, Fla. to take on the top-seeded North Florida Ospreys at 7:30 PM ET.
Marc-Eddy Norelia extended his program record for double-doubles to 13 with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Christian Terrell scored 15 points and Zach Johnson added 14 for the Eagles. FGCU shot 52.0 percent from the floor, their second highest field goal percentage in an A-Sun Championship game in tonight's victory.
With the Eagles leading 42-41, Norelia started an 8-0 run with a fast break dunk, followed by two Terrell three-pointers to give the Eagles some breathing room at 50-41 to the delight of the home crowd at Alico Arena. The Owls' top-scorer Yonel Brown scored 19 points to lead KSU's attack, but was hampered by an ankle injury for the final 10 minutes of the game. FGCU started to pull away and took a commanding 72-57 lead at the 3:18 mark of the second half.
Throughout the first half neither team was able to establish a large lead. The Eagles used a 7-0 run midway through the first half to take 20-14 advantage. The Owls countered with Brown who scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half. He kept KSU in the game with several timely buckets with the shot clock running down.
A-Sun First Team All-Conference member Norelia had six points and five rebounds in the first period, while all eight FGCU players that saw action scored at least two points. For the game, the Eagles out-rebounded the Owls 39-25 and scored 36 points in the paint. In the first half they had an 11-0 advantage on second chance points to take 36-34 halftime lead.
The Eagles now head to Jacksonville to face the defending champions North Florida on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. FGCU (18-13; 8-6) split the regular season series with the Ospreys, both teams winning on their home court.
FGCU - Kennesaw State Quarterfinal Notes
- Marc-Eddy Norelia finished with his 13th double-double of the season, extending his single-season team record. The previous mark was nine.
- For the fourth time this season, Christian Terrell connected on three or triples in a single-game. He was 3-for-3 from behind the arc tonight, one shy of his season-high four against Ave Maria.
- FGCU improves to 5-0 all-time in A-Sun Quarterfinals and extended their winning-streak against the Owls to 11 consecutive.
- Zach Johnson finished with 14 points, scoring in double figures in all three games against Kennesaw State this season. Johnson averaged 13.6 PPG against the Owls this season.
- Yonel Brown concluded his outstanding Kennesaw State career with a game-high 19 points today. He finishes his stint with the Owls with 1,344 career points; 61st on the A-Sun's all-time scoring list.