FORT MYERS, Fla. -
The Stetson men's basketball team (9-11, 6-3) fell behind early and lost to Florida
Gulf Coast (14-8, 6-3) by a score of 96-65 on the road Friday night. Junior Chris Perez scored 21 points and
senior Adam Pegg recorded his third double-double of the season to lead the
Hatters in the defeat.
"They came out on a mission," Stetson head coach Casey
Alexander said of the Eagles. "We were prepared for it, but we didn't respond
to it, and that's the disappointing thing.
There are going to be runs in every game, and sometimes when it's after
the opening tip, it's a real challenge to settle yourself down. We never did."
FGCU opened the scoring with a three-pointer by Chase
Fieler, and the Eagles were off to the races from there. Stetson fell behind by eight points, at 12-4,
through three minutes, before making what ended up as its only true run to get
into the game.
A bucket in the paint by Pegg, followed by threes from Perez
and junior Aaron Graham were part of an 8-3 run that cut the FGCU lead to just
three points, at 15-12, with 13:43 to play in the period. The Eagles then used
an 18-4 run that stretched over a seven minute period to take a 33-16 lead that
would prove to be too much for the Hatters to overcome.
It was a first half that the Hatters would like to
forget. Stetson turned the ball over 15
times, which gave way to 19 FGCU points in the period. The Eagles shot 60 percent from the floor and
50 percent from beyond the arc to take a 48-29 lead at the break.
"Miserably bad early," Alexander said of Stetson's handling
of the ball. "and for no reason. There wasn't anything that they did that was
unplanned for, un-practiced for, and we just threw the ball away. What we
talked about before the game was being really solid, and really tough. [We]
couldn't have been farther from than that."
Unfortunately for Stetson, the second half wasn't much
different. Beginning with a jumper by
Brett Comer, FGCU extended its lead to 29 points, at 65-36, less than five
minutes into the frame. The Hatters
never got closer than 27 points from that point on as the Eagles cruised to the
"I have to give them a lot of credit," Alexander said of
FGCU. "It was remarkable the difference in their mentality on both ends of the
floor compared to ours. When you're playing with great effort, and energy, and
togetherness, it's amazing how the shots fall better for you. It's amazing how
the long rebounds bounce your way more often, and the loose balls, and the
lucky plays, and everything else. It's mainly because you earn it. That's why
they deserve the credit."
Stetson finished with 21 turnovers, its second highest total
on the season, and shot just 5-of-24 from beyond the arc. FGCU, on the other hand, totaled 12 steals,
31 points off of turnovers, and shot 58.7 percent from the floor to earn the victory.
Perez's 21 points were a team high, but his seven turnovers
were as well. Pegg finished with 17
points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. It marked the 15th straight game
that the Stetson center recorded double digit points.
Sherwood Brown led the Eagles with 21 points of his own,
going over the 1,000 point mark in his career during the contest. Four other FGCU players finished in double
figures, including Fieler, who finished with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and
3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
"The only thing that can make this worse is if we don't
learn from it and let it make us a better team," Alexander concluded. "If we
show up for practice on Sunday, just assuming that things are going to get
better because we're out there then we're very wrong. We do have to regroup. We
do have to channel our energy in the right direction, be more committed to
being good, and know that that's what gives us a chance to win."
Stetson will next play at Jacksonville on Thursday, Jan.
31. The Hatters and the Dolphins are
scheduled to tip off at 7:00 p.m. with coverage on ASun.TV, HatterVision, and
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