FGCU blistered the nets at the Edmunds Center, shooting 64.7 percent from the floor, including an incredible 82.7 percent from inside the three-point arc. That shooting performance outweighed a second consecutive double-double from Stetson junior Adam Pegg as the Hatters dropped their third straight game in Atlantic Sun Conference play.
“They are good offensively,” Stetson coach Casey Alexander said. “They have scored the ball well against a lot of talented teams because that is the strength of their team. They played exceptional on that end of the floor tonight and we didn’t play well defensively.”
The Hatters (7-12, 4-5) were not helped by the fact that they dominated the Eagles (9-10, 5-4) on the boards and had fewer turnovers in the game. FGCU just didn’t miss. The Eagles hit 9-of-22 from three-point range and hit 17-of-22 from the free throw line.
“We haven’t been playing well defensively, and we have to improve in that area,” Alexander said. “The biggest problem is that it is everything. We are not that far off. It is transition four or five times, guarding the ball four or five times, not knowing who you are guarding a couple of times, not knowing the scouting report one or two times, and those things add up to make a bad defensive performance.”
The poor showing on the defensive end spoiled another strong night on the offensive end for Stetson junior center Adam Pegg. Coming off his first career double-double at Lipscomb, Pegg turned in his second straight with 24 points and 10 rebounds against FGCU. Of his 10 rebounds, nine were on the offensive floor, including eight in the first half.
Despite the chances, Pegg hit just nine of his 19 shots from the field.
“Some of Adam’s problem was that he rushed offensive rebounds in the first half,” Alexander said. “He had eight offensive rebounds, but he was tapping them instead of gathering himself and going back up strong. He is playing well for us. I have no complaints there.”
The game turned for Stetson early in the second half. The Hatters were down 40-38 at halftime, but used an 11-0 run early in the second half to take a 49-42 lead. From there FGCU used a 24-6 run over 6:41 to take an 11-point lead.
“We let them get easy layups, for whatever reason,” Pegg said. “I am sure we will see it on film tomorrow. We gave them layups in transition because we didn’t get back. They just got easy layups.”
Stetson answered the Eagles’ run with a 10-0 run of their own to get back to within one point of the lead, but FGCU immediately answered with a 7-0 run that included two layups. The Hatters were able to get back to within four a couple of times, but never got closer.
“They made more plays that we did, there was no doubt about it,” Alexander said. “They coached better and played better.”
In addition to Pegg, the Hatters got 19 points from Aaron Graham and 10 from Willie Green. FGCU was led by Brett Comer with 24 points. He was one of five Eagles who scored in double figures.
“It was a loss, and any loss is disappointing,” Pegg said. “You can do a lot of things better to keep the other team from scoring 90 or 100 points against you. It is hard to win when that happens. Everybody on the team has to play better defense or we aren’t going to win.”
The Hatters will try to end a three-game skid on Monday night when they travel to face Savannah State in a non-conference game. The Tigers own an 8-10 record on the season going into their game on Saturday against South Carolina State.
The game on Monday is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.
The Hatters will be back home next Saturday when they host Mercer at 3:15 p.m.