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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

FGCU men's basketball coach's debut a close success

FGCU guard Brett Comer drives to the basket against Ave Maria during second period play on Monday at Alico Arena. The Eagles won the game 79-65.
FGCU guard Brett Comer drives to the basket against Ave Maria during second period play on Monday at Alico Arena. The Eagles won the game 79-65. / Kinfay Moroti/news-press.com

A couple of fans welcomed Andy Enfield in his first regular-season home game with cutouts of the FGCU men’s basketball coach’s head Monday night during its game against Ave Maria.
While a big head of Enfield drew chuckles from fans — as well as the coach himself — one can be sure that the Eagles’ players won’t have big heads after their 79-65 win at Alico Arena.
The Eagles saw double-digit leads cut to single digits in each half. Enfield blistered his players — “It can’t be repeated” — after they led their NAIA level opponent just 31-27 at halftime.
They responded with a 27-10 start in the second half that put them up 58-37. However, Ave Maria drew within 70-62 before the Eagles built the margin back up.
“That’s a sign of immaturity and being a young team,” Enfield said of the lost leads. “We had a 21-point lead, then you look up three minutes later and it’s 10 points. That’s immaturity and inexperience.”
Enfield said there were problems on both offense and defense. He counted taking seven contested 3-pointers in the first half while he said the Eagles allowed the Gyrenes to penetrate too much, which led to their 11 makes on treys.
“I didn’t think any of our players played a great game,” he said. “Not up to their potential. I’m happy we won. I give Ave Maria a lot of credit. They were the reason none of our guys played well.
“We also have to learn what is a good shot and what not is a good shot.”
Sherwood Brown had 19 points and six rebounds. Brett Comer added 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Christophe Varidel added 11 points and Bernard Thompson 10.
“We got a really good team and there’s a lot of upside for the rest of the season,” said Brown, who said Enfield has worked with him on his follow through on shots. “We’re a little disappointed in (giving up the 21-point lead) but basketball is a game of spurts.”
After shooting better than 61 percent against TCU in a 73-72 loss on the road Friday, the Eagles struggled to find the range early and trailed 6-4 for nearly the first six minutes.
FGCU took the lead for good, 7-6, on Brown’s 3-pointer with 14:11 to go in the first half.
A tip-in by Bishop Verot graduate Eddie Murray, a Comer layup and a 3-pointer by Varidel helped the Eagles go up 28-18.
However, Ave Maria hung tough and when Daniel Vivas hit two free throws, the Gyrenes trailed just 31-27 at halftime. In the last 1.9 seconds center Kevin Cantinol picked up his third foul.
Ave Maria scored first to open the second half but the Eagles went on an 8-0 run to go back up by 10, 39-29.
A couple of 3-pointers by Kiel Lewis closed it to 41-35.
However, FGCU started to warm up and went on a 17-2 run. Brown had a rebound hoop and a trey. Dante Holmes hit a 3-pointer. Comer and Cantinol had layups. Varidel nailed another 3.
The margin grew to 58-37. The win was safe.

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