Atlantic Sun Summer Sessions: Men's Basketball; #ASunMBB

Monday, July 01, 2013

MACON, Ga. - A new town was founded in Southwest Florida in the middle of March this year as Dunk City popped up on the maps and minds of people around the nation.

FGCU earned its new moniker as the Eagles became the first 15-seed in the 75-year history of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16. The high-flying act of the Eagles led to electrifying and stunning victories against Georgetown, a No. 2 seed, and No. 7 San Diego State in the Second and Third Rounds at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.

After finishing second behind Mercer in the Atlantic Sun Regular Season, FGCU won three straight games in the A-Sun Championship on the Bears’ home court, which included a 13-point victory vs. Mercer in the tournament final, to earn the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in only its second year of eligibility. Brett Comer, FGCU’s point guard, received the Championship Most Valuable Player honor as he tallied 21 points and six assists

With a stable full of rim-rattling players including the A-Sun Player of the Year, Sherwood Brown, and the Defensive Player of the Year, Bernard Thompson, the Eagles entered the NCAA Tournament on a five-game winning streak after falling to Stetson, who finished third in the conference, on Feb. 22nd.

Against Georgetown, FGCU owned a slim 24-22 advantage heading into the break, but a 21-2 run three minutes into the second half gave the Eagles a firm grip on the leash of the Hoyas. An impractical alley-oop from Comer to Chase Fieler, a Second Team All-Conference member, with two minutes remaining “dropped the anvil” on Georgetown as FGCU became the seventh 15-seed in NCAA history to upset a two-seed with the Eagles’ 78-68 victory.

Two days later, Enfield and Eagles continued their dazzling run in March Madness with a 17-0 second-half run, which led to a 71-61 triumph against the Aztecs and sent the Eagles to Arlington, Texas for the Regional Semifinals. With the victory, the Eagles also became the first team in Atlantic Sun history to reach the Sweet 16.

Playing in front of 40,639 fans in attendance at Cowboys Stadium, FGCU squared off with in-state foe, Florida. The Eagles jumped out a 17-6 advantage early on the Gators before Florida rallied for a 62-50 victory to end FGCU’s historic season. The Eagles finished the year with a Division I program record 26 victories.

FGCU wasn’t the only conference team to find postseason success as Mercer, the A-Sun Regular Season Champions, earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament. The Bears traveled north to Knoxville, Tenn. for a contest against Tennessee. Second Team All-Conference member, Travis Smith poured in 25 points and was accompanied by three others in double-digits as the Bears claimed a 75-67 victory vs. the Volunteers.

The win marked the sixth victory in the NIT for the Atlantic Sun Conference and was Mercer’s sixth in the last two seasons as the Bears won the 2012 Tournament.

FGCU and Mercer’s postseason achievements continued the A-Sun’s recent surge of success in March as the conference has won at least three postseason games in the last three seasons and marked the fifth-straight season the league has earned at least one win.

Additional #ASunMBB Notes:
• Kennesaw State's Markeith Cummings became the sixth player in A-Sun history to reach 2,000 career points. Cummings finished his career with 2,048 points; good for fourth-most all-time.
• Mercer's Bob Hoffman was tabbed the A-Sun Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to the regular-season title with a 14-4 league record.
• North Florida's Parker Smith finished the season with 116 three pointers to set the A-Sun single-season record for made three pointers. Smith finished his three-year career at UNF with 302 three's; tied for third-most in conference history.
• After a three-year absence from the conference championship, Stetson returned to the tournament play as the Hatters finished the regular season in third place at 11-7 in A-Sun play. The Hatters picked up their first A-Sun Championship win since 2006.
• Making its second appearance in the A-Sun Championship, USC Upstate won the program's first conference tournament game with a 76-62 victory vs. Jacksonville. Torrey Craig was named to the All-Tournament Team.
• Northern Kentucky made a splash on the conference scene in its first season as the Norse finished with a 9-9 record to tie for fourth place. NKU defeated Mercer, the A-Sun Regular-Season Champion, to begin a four-game win streak on Jan. 24th.
• FGCU's Brett Comer and Bernard Thompson both finished second for in the single-season record books for assists and steals, respectively. Comer dished out 244 assists, while Thompson accumulated 102 steals on the year.
• FGCU, Jacksonville and Stetson all increased their win totals from the previous season. The Eagles saw an improvement of 11 ahead of Jacksonville and Stetson at six.

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