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FGCU men dominate USC Upstate, 75-58

January 12, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The FGCU men's basketball team (11-8, 2-0 ASUN) continued its strong play to open ASUN Conference action as the Eagles dominated USC Upstate (5-14, 0-2 ASUN) Thursday night at Alico Arena, 75-58, to run their winning streak to four in a row.

The 17-point margin of victory is deceiving as FGCU led by 27 with just over two minutes remaining before the Spartans closed on a 10-0 run against the Eagles' bench.

Zach Johnson scored a game-high 17 points and passed out a game-best six assists. Dinero Mercurius added 13 points while making exactly three 3-pointers for the eighth time this year. Ricky Doyle matched a season high by tallying 11 points - including the first six of the night for the Eagles - as the Green and Blue shot 49 percent (32-65) from the floor.

After only two conference games, just a pair of teams remain unbeaten in league play - FGCU and Jacksonville.

"We really spread the floor and shared the ball tonight," commented FGCU head coach Joe Dooley of the Eagles' 17 assists on 32 made field goals. "But it all started on the defensive end again. We held Upstate to just 19 percent from the floor in the 1st half. Those defensive stops set the tone for us and allowed us to get out and run."

FGCU leading scorer Brandon Goodwin took a backseat offensively as he finished with just seven points, but the point guard instead corralled a game-high nine rebounds and passed out three assists against no turnovers. Christian Terrell also finished with seven points and dished out four assists opposite no giveaways. Michael Gilmore and RaySean Scott Jr. each tallied seven points as well off the bench.

USC Upstate was led by Avery Diggs with 12 points, while Jure Span added 11 and Malik Moore tallied 10 to round of the trio of double-figure scorers for the Spartans, who finished the night shooting just 33 percent (22-66) from the floor - the fourth-straight opponent FGCU has held below 35 percent.

With the win, FGCU secured its 200th all-time home victory (100-63). The program's first-ever home triumph took place at what is now Germain Arena, but all 199 since have occurred inside the friendly confines of Alico Arena.

FGCU concludes its five-game homestand with its third ASUN contest of the year when the Eagles welcome NJIT (8-9, 1-1 ASUN) to Alico Arena for a 7 p.m. tipoff on Saturday, Jan. 13. The Highlanders defeated Upstate last Saturday to open conference play, 98-87, before falling at Stetson on Thursday night, 80-67.



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